CAPTION: iTaukei Affairs scholarship recipients.
1. FIJIAN GOVT COMMITTED TO REVITALIZING COCONUT INDUSTRY – The Fiji Government remains adamant and committed in its efforts to revitalise the ailing coconut industry in the country.
2. ITAUKEI AFFAIRS IMPROVES ON SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS FOR LAW AND AGRICULTURE STUDENTS – 33 students have welcomed the new changes made by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs to the scholarship awards now offered to students studying Law in Vanuatu, and students to study Agriculture in Samoa – both of which are programs at the University of the South Pacific.
3. FIJI TO HOST REGIONAL CANCER THERAPY UNIT – A team from the Korean Cancer Institute is currently in Fiji on a fact finding mission to establish a cancer therapy unit for Fiji and for regional countries.
4. MINSTERIAL TOUR TO ADDRESS KEY HEALTH ISSUES – Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma will be touring the Northern division with the focus of ensuring adequate health services are delivered to the communities there.
5. PS EMPHASIZE TOTAL COMMITMENT AND LOYALTY TO DEPARTING DIPLOMATS – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation permanent secretary Mr Amena Yauvoli together with staff members today bid farewell to three diplomats at the Ministry’s headquarters in Suva.
6. LAUNCH OF MSG SILVER JUBILEE SIGNIFIES MELANESIAN SOLIDARITY – With the theme “25 years of Melanesian Solidarity and Growth”, the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Jubilee launch was yesterday inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Honorable Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu.
1 FIJIAN GOVT COMMITTED TO REVITALIZING COCONUT INDUSTRY
The Fiji Government remains adamant and committed in its efforts to revitalise the ailing coconut industry in the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi made these comments whilst presenting Fiji’s country paper on the various programs and developments in Fiji’s coconut industry at the 49th Asia and Pacific Coconut Community Ministerial meeting currently underway in Nadi.
“The revitalization programs include taking over of the Coconut Industry Development Authority (CIDA) by the Extension Division to allow for better co-ordination that entails the overall coconut based crop diversification, crop and livestock diversification programs under coconut as the way forward to address the arable land shortage yet maximize returns from the current coconut covered areas, government funding support to ensure achievements of targeted replanting programs; completion of the whole nut processing factory on Taveuni, with the planned renovation and refurbishment of the laboratory and research facilities and activities on Taveuni and Wainigata.”
Mr Ligairi added that “New initiatives by Government through the Department of Agriculture will see the launching of the 1 million coconut tree planting program for 2013 to 2015 and includes aggressive community outreach on the significance of the commodity.”
Government is investing $370,000 to ensure the achievements of targeted coconut replanting programs as well as the completion of the whole nut processing factory in Taveuni.
Programs to promote the virgin coconut oil (VCO) production in terms of handicrafts and other value added products is gaining momentum and fetching better returns for farmers and especially rural women.
A Coconut Industry Task Force chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Finance Filimone Waqabaca has also been formed by government in its bid to revive the ailing industry.
2 ITAUKEI AFFAIRS IMPROVES ON SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS FOR LAW AND AGRICULTURE STUDENTS
33 students have welcomed the new changes made by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs to the scholarship awards now offered to students studying Law in Vanuatu, and students to study Agriculture in Samoa – both of which are programs at the University of the South Pacific.
The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela announced these changes during a special orientation program for students that was held recently at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs boardroom in Nasese.
These changes include the following:
- · Accommodation will be provided on-campus for each student regardless of the level of scholarship award (Full/Partial/Tuition) and will be paid directly to the respective institution (Emalus or Alafua);
- · Accommodation allowance will be paid directly to the respective institutions;
- · An increase in pocket allowance due to the increase in cost of living in Vanuatu and Samoa.
These allowances will be awarded on a quarterly basis to students according to their level of award.
The condition, Mr Kaunisela said, is that they maintain their good grade throughout their term of study, vis a vis a scale of 3 on GPA.
iTaukei Scholarship Unit manager, Mr Tomasi Volau also addressed the students and clarified queries from students.
Pockets of orientation for dedicated students are a new feature for the Ministry’s scholarship unit this year. This is for the benefit of students and for which parents and guardians are also invited to attend.
“In past years, the orientation was just held once and for all the students regardless of the institutions of study”, Mr Kaunisela said.
“We did not find this productive so we’ve changed the orientation format this year,” he explained.
3 FIJI TO HOST REGIONAL CANCER THERAPY UNIT
A team from the Korean Cancer Institute is currently in Fiji on a fact finding mission to establish a cancer therapy unit for Fiji and for regional countries.
Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma held meetings with the team today and highlighted through their findings that they will determine the best possible area to establish the cancer therapy unit after improving the Ministry’s cancer database.
“The database will tell us exactly what the load is in each areas and this will enable the Ministry to plan and set up the cancer therapy unit in that particular area.” Dr. Sharma said.
He also acknowledges the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) for its support in these two areas.
Dr Sharma visited Korea last year where he met officials from the Korean Cancer Institute and later opted to bring these officials into the country for a fact finding mission.
“Once the ground work is completed, an expression of interest will be called internationally, to build the centre, equip it and to train our people to run it. Countries like Israel, India and China have so far shown keen interest in setting up the unit”, says Dr Sharma.
Meanwhile, at least 60 women die from cervical cancer every year in Fiji. About 120 women develop cervical cancer every year while three to four new cases are reported monthly.
The Ministry is adamant that through the setup of a cancer therapy unit in Fiji, the cancer deaths will be reduced around the country.
Meanwhile the medical team will also look at ways of improving the Ministry’s database on cancer registry.
4 MINSTERIAL TOUR TO ADDRESS KEY HEALTH ISSUES
Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma will be touring the Northern division with the focus of ensuring adequate health services are delivered to communities there.
Dr Sharma said the key focus of the tour is to further enhance operational activities within the ministry and strengthen partnership with all stakeholders in the northern division.
“The Ministry is trying its best to provide better health care facilities to the people of the country and urgent steps are being taken to address issues which might hinder these deliveries,” Dr Sharma said.
The Minister will be meeting with corporate entities to further enhance private, public partnership with the aim of improving health services in the Northern division. In light of this private public partnership, the Ministry has successfully set up rest house in Nabouwalu in the Bua province.
“Immediate relatives of inpatients who are staying far away or in the interior can now stay in the rest house instead of hiring vans or carriers to go back home or returning in the early hours of the morning,” Dr Sharma said.
The Minister is expected to tour Labasa, Savusavu, Dreketi, Seqaqa, Coqeloa and Wainikoro health centres and hospitals to obtain first hand reports of critical health issues faced in the north.
4 PS EMPHASISE TOTAL COMMITMENT AND LOYALTY TO DEPARTING DIPLOMATS
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation permanent secretary Mr Amena Yauvoli together with staff members today bid farewell to three diplomats at the Ministry’s headquarters in Suva.
While congratulating the departing diplomats at the official farewell ceremony last week, Mr Yauvoli emphasised the importance of their new role.
“Let me emphasise at this point that you are going in as diplomats, as the face of Fiji in the areas of operation that you work in and we expect nothing less than total commitment and loyalty in terms of deliverance of your work,” Mr Yauvoli said
Mr Yauvoli said all missions operate in a hierarchical system and there is a need to subscribe to this system.
With this system, he said, communication such as discussion with Heads of Missions and headquarters is very critical for direction and advice.
The achievement of the Ministry’s vision, mission and goals was also stressed.
“The important thing is we have our goals in these missions that are outlined in the 2013 Annual Corporate plan to get back maximum benefits for Fiji,” Mr Yauvoli said.
Mr Yauvoli said there will be challenges along the way and these challenges can be overcome.
The departing diplomats include:
- · Mr Atama Nawaciono [ Second Secretary-Beijing, China)
- · Mr Om Praksh Goundar [ Second Secretary- New Delhi, India]
- · Mr Vilikesa Naivalucava [ Third Secretary- Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea]
Meanwhile, Mr Eliki Salusalu who was not part of the official farewell ceremony is taking up the Counselor position in Abu Dhabi.
5 LAUNCH OF MSG SILVER JUBILEE SIGNIFIES MELANESIAN SOLIDARITY
With the theme “25 years of Melanesian Solidarity and Growth”, the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Jubilee launch was yesterday inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Honorable Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu.
Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola attended the launch in Port Villa on behalf of Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
During the launch, Minister Kubuabola along with the Foreign Ministers of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea participated in a trade exhibition organised by the MSG Secretariat.
Ministers also took part in the unveiling of the MSG Silver Jubilee Carvings, the launching of the MSG Silver Jubilee Documentary, the launching of the MSG Souvenirs, the tree planting and the Kava Ceremony.
The leaders reflected on the progress of the MSG since its inception in 1988 and recognised the contributions of the founders and pioneers of the MSG.
Minister Kubuabola expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Vanuatu for hosting the MSG Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
On the same note, he also thanked the MSG member countries for the support and understanding which they had accorded to Fiji in its national building process.
He further urged the members that the leaders of today need to continue with the MSG legacy of the founders and pioneers in order for the next generation to experience and enjoy our true Melanesia. Minister Kubuabola reiterated the support of Fiji towards future aspirations of MSG.
MSG member countries are expected to host a one week MSG celebrations following the launch of the Silver Jubilee. Fiji will also be dedicating a week for the MSG celebrations. The dates for the MSG week for Fiji are yet to be confirmed.