1. FIJI SENDS MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO CYCLONE-HIT TONGA – The Fijian Government today handed over medical relief supplies worth more than $150,000 assist Tonga in its efforts to treat those that were affected by cyclone Ian.
2. UAE OFFERS POST GRADUATE RENEWABLE ENERGIES STUDIES SCHOLARSHIPS – In developing close relations with the Fijian government, the United Arab Emirates has offered scholarships on post graduate renewable energy studies through the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
3. NEW CENTRES TO BOOST DEVELOPMENT IN NAITASIRI – The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni officially opened two new women centre extensions this week in Vunidawa and Nadakuni villages in Soloira tikina, Naitasiri province.
4. HIGH DEMAND FOR AGRO GOODS, FARMERS ASKED TO GROW MORE – Government’s drive to ensure Fijians living in rural and outer islands are beneficiaries of the national wealth has seen a more export driven approach towards agriculture.
5. TAVUA EXPORTER IMPRESSES MINISTER – The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Colonel Inia Seruiratu visited Maqere Exports in Tavua earlier this week to witness its operations.
6. NEW LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ADMITTED TO THE BAR – More than five years of hard work and determination paid off for 25-year-old barrister and solicitor, Esiteri Donata Radrole, who was admitted to the legal Bar today.
1 FIJI SENDS MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO CYCLONE-HIT TONGA
The Fijian Government today handed over medical relief supplies worth more than $150,000 assist Tonga in its efforts to treat those that were affected by cyclone Ian.
The supplies were today loaded to two yachts that would carry them to Tonga’s northern island of Ha’api.
The Ministry of Health’s Deputy Secretary for Hospital services Dr Metuisela Tuicakau said the Fijian Government was pleased to assist its closest neighbor.
“The donations will assist the Tongan health department to meet the needs of their communities and we extend our (Fiji’s) well wishers to Tonga in providing health care needs during this challenging period,” he said.
“The Fijian Government will continue to assist out regional neighbours during difficult situation if we are called upon.”
The one tonne load of equipment will leave Port Vuda Marina this afternoon on board two yachts belonging to Sea Mercy – a charitable organisation.
“The gesture of the Fijian government towards its closest neighbor is very warm and encouraging said Xavier Zeitoun a captain on one of the two yachts.
“Your (Fiji’s) generous response with medicines and supplies has exceeded our expectations,” Zeitoun said.
“I also believe it has set a new standard of giving, and example of goodwill between not only Tonga and Fiji, but for all the islands of the South Pacific when disasters strike and we (Sea Mercy) commend Fiji for its assistance.”
Tonga’s Minister for Health Lord Tu’i’afitu stated in a letter that the relationship between Tonga and Fiji remained intact despite the many challenges the two countries face.
“The generous support provided by the Ministry of Health and the Fijian Government, have proven again and again that there is an unbreakable bond of brotherhood and friendship that ties Fiji and Tonga together,” Lord Tu’i’afitu said in his letter.
“It proves that as friends and family, living together in this beautiful blue continent of ours, we will always look after each other when most needed. We are indebted to you all in Fiji.”
2 UAE OFFERS POST GRADUATE RENEWABLE ENERGIES STUDIES SCHOLARSHIPS
In developing close relations with the Fijian government, the United Arab Emirates has offered scholarships on post graduate renewable energy studies through the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
Fiji’s Ambassador to the UAE, Robin Nair said that “Masdar Institute(MI) is committed to the development of this collaboration and is looking forward to welcoming the first Fijian students at MI as soon as Fall 2014 on full scholarships”
The Institute, which was created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow
Only the brightest UAE nationals and international graduates, who demonstrate exceptional intellectual and entrepreneurial strengths and are committed to addressing the world’s energy needs, may join Masdar Institute. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change.
Interested individuals are encouraged to visit the MI website :www.masdar.ac.ae for entry requirements.
Students that are admitted to MI, in any program, will enjoy automatic full scholarship including other advantages such as housing, insurance, travel tickets to home country every year, computers and books amongst others.
Qualified individuals are urged to apply for admissions and note that the application process for both M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs and scholarships is completely web-based. Any initial enquires or clarifications can be addressed to Counselor Aliki Salusalu firstname.lastname@example.org
3 NEW CENTRES TO BOOST DEVELOPMENT IN NAITASIRI
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni officially opened two new women centre extensions this week in Vunidawa and Nadakuni villages in Soloira tikina, Naitasiri province.
Dr Luveni’s second visit to these villages also gave an opportunity for the villagers to receive information on the ministry’s programs and seek clarification on poverty alleviation programs.
In her opening address, Dr Luveni reiterated that these Government funded centres will create new economic opportunities for Naitasiri women.
“The centre is an incentive for the women to work together with the men in improving the lives of their families. It will also enables the Ministry to conduct awareness and education programs on positive parenting, families, healthy living, women’s reproductive health and leadership training.
“Through these centres, the Ministry works together with its stakeholders to provide financial literacy and microfinance programs. It will also become easier for women to network with the ministry to access women development programs and services both now and in the future,” Dr Luveni explained.
Mrs Mereoni Rabuatoka, president of Rosi na Delana said opening of the new centre is a dream come true for Vunidawa women. The women usually travel all the way to Suva to sell dalo and rourou in the weekends.
“There are 60 women who are members of this group and had it not been for the Ministry’s funding we would still be struggling to build this centre. The new building will be instrumental in diversifying the income generating activities like handicrafts, baking, tailoring, making home made products like jam and pickles.
“We are grateful to the government for providing us with a new centre which will strengthen our abilities to earn income for our families. This is the first development in all these years that is centered towards women’s wellbeing. Being economically strong would give us the powers to contribute towards decision making and positive changes needed in the village,” Mrs Rabuatoka said.
She said there is also a gatekeeping committee in the village that was formed in 2012, following the official declaration of Vunidawa as a violence free community in Fiji.
“The awareness programs provided under the Zero Tolerance Violence Free program has been an eye opener for the men, they are supporting women’s projects and the centre has been built none other than the men in the village,” Mrs Rabuatoka added.
Mr Josua Raruve, mata-ni-tikina for Soloira emphasized on the importance of empowering women to alleviate poverty.
“Women in rural areas are the backbone of their communities and at times their contributions go unnoticed. The women centres will enable them to acquire skills to start small and venture into commercial businesses. It makes them realize the importance of their role and the power of women to lead development in their communities,” Mr Raruve said.
4 HIGH DEMAND FOR AGRO GOODS, FARMERS ASKED TO GROW MORE
GOVERNMENT’S drive to ensure Fijians living in rural and outer islands are beneficiaries of the national wealth has seen a more export driven approach towards agriculture.
The Minister for Primary Industries, who is also Minister responsible for Rural and Maritime Development, Mr Inia Seruiratu, said there was huge potential in agriculture with dalo alone raking in $40 million annually.
Minister Seruiratu said mature ginger as opposed to processed ginger will also be the newest economic crop to hit the market after the requirement pathway was cleared with Australia for its export.
He said the resource and capacity was there so once the challenges are surmounted, there is potential to expand the exports.
“The big challenge we have at the moment is increasing export level with the current commodities,” Mr Seruiratu said.
For the outer islands, there is a huge market for virgin coconut oil and Minister Seruiratu said that South Korea was the new destination for this product but once again, the supply was lagging behind.
“We all know that most of our coconuts are on the islands and the only challenge now is to get the virgin coconut oil from the islands when they are needed and then ship it across,” he said.
This drive has also created a buzz with farmers who are eyeing the international market for their crop with plans to expand.
One such farmer is mother of four, Verenaisi Uluvula, 47, from Lomaivuna in Naitasiri who is currently planting dalo, ginger, cassava and vegetables.
Government assistance has seen the provision of fertiliser worth $5000 that has been a big boost and Mrs Uluvula is now looking at expanding the farm to grow more and export her produce overseas.
“I have brought up my children through the farm, put them through formal education despite the various challenges but we are now looking at expanding so that we can grow more,” she said.
Minister Seruiratu said boosting the cottage industries is another area they will be pushing forward as they have a budgetary allocation of $100,000 to work with.
5 TAVUA EXPORTER IMPRESSES MINISTER
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Colonel Inia Seruiratu visited Maqere Exports in Tavua earlier this week to witness its operations.
Maqere Exports was recently assisted by the Ministry of Agriculture in building a new packing shed valued at $31,000.00.
The Ministry’s senior agriculture officer (BA) Unaisi Remudu said that there was a need to assist this export company as it is a major market to many small holder farmers around the Western Division.
Mrs Remudu said the Ministry of Agriculture will work closely with the company for the next five (5) years to assist them in implementing the plans that they have. She said with these new facilities, Maqere Export will have the capacity to increase the volume of exports overseas.
Maqere Exports started its operation in 1978 and has continued to export a wide variety of commodities to New Zealand.
The Operations Manager at Maqere Exports, Mohammad Jamal Khan said that it is a family owned business and they have their family owned outlet in New Zealand where they sell all the commodities exported from Fiji.
“We export a wide range of commodities such as okra, long beans, eggplant, cassava, and dalo.”
Maqere Exports buy vegetables from the farmers between Sigatoka and Rakiraki areas.
Mr Khan said that cassava exports have just started last month and currently they buy peeled cassava from farmers in Rakiraki at 70 cents per kilogram.
“Last month we exported a total of 27 tonnes of cassava and 8 tonnes of dalo to New Zealand in two different consignments.”We also export seasonal commodities such as ginger and Tahitian chest nut (ivi),” said Mr Khan.
The main problem faced by the exporter is the inconsistency in the supply of produce from the farmers and that poses the loss of market overseas. Mr Khan said that if the farmers are consistent with the supply then they will be able to maintain the export market and possibly expand in the future.
“There are many exporters from Fiji and other countries also trying to enter the New Zealand export market.”
Minister Seruiratu assured Mr Khan that the Ministry of Agriculture will work closely with the farmers to ensure consistent supply of export commodities.
According to Mr. Khan they also export fresh fish to New Zealand which is supplied to them by fishermen from as far as Labasa.
The company employs twenty (20) full time labourers and an additional 10 during its peak operation seasons.
NEW LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ADMITTED TO THE BAR
More than five years of hard work and determination paid off for 25-year-old barrister and solicitor, Esiteri Donata Radrole, who was admitted to the legal Bar today.
Miss Radrole was amongst 22 other Law graduates from the University of the South Pacific (USP) who were sworn in as new Barristers and Solicitors by Chief Justice, Mr Anthony Gates at Suva’s Supreme Court.
Miss Radrole, who is the first barrister and solicitor from Vuinadi Village, Koroalau in Savusavu said today is the happiest day of her life as she begins her career in Fiji’s legal fraternity.
“It is a very special day for me and I am proud to be here today with my parents, friends and relatives after all those years of study. There were a lot challenges in the beginning and at first, I thought it was never ending but I am so happy that finally this day has arrived,” Miss Radrole said.
“My parents really supported me throughout my studies at the USP. Coming away from my family in Vuinadi village to Viti Levu for over five years of study was a big challenge. I am also glad that I got iTaukei Affairs scholarship in 2009 to complete my degree in Suva and Vanuatu,” Miss Radrole said.
She is currently employed as an intern at Rigsby Law in Nausori but hopes to establish a new law firm with her friends in the future.
“I want to uphold the importance of maintaining professionalism and ethical relationship with our clients and the country as a whole,” Miss Radrole added.
Tavua barrister and lawyer, Nilema Samantha was also a proud daughter today as her dream of joining the legal fraternity got fulfilled.
“I am really excited and it is a proud moment for my family as well. I am here today because of the immense support from my mother’s brother, Mr Raghwan. He has supported me financially since childhood,” Miss Samantha said.
The former Tavua College student said while she faced enormous struggles at the beginning of her studies, the assistance and support from lecturers enabled her to “turn her dream into a reality”.
Justice Anthony Gates reminded the newly admitted practitioner on the importance of ethics in their profession.
“You have each taken an oath or affirmation that you will truly and honestly conduct yourself in the practice as a legal practitioner according to the best of your knowledge and ability,” Mr Justice Gates said.
“We hope that oath will remind you of your duties to act at all times as a practitioner professionally devoted to your clients and to act as a responsible, committed, honourable and noble officer of the court. And further that you will at all times be courteous to court, counsel, litigants, and witnesses, whilst maintaining moral courage and demonstrating true independence.”