1. NEW SHRIMP STRAIN TO SAVE FIJI $20MILLION ANNUALLY– A new exotic shrimp species was introduced into the country this week and is expected to reduce Fiji’s reliance on imported shrimp.
2. NEW PARTNERSHIP TO BENEFIT WOMEN– In the pursuit of using local natural resources as a source of employment for women, Government has engaged the services of a renowned local bamboo craftexpert to develop bamboo craft programs.
3. HFC OPENS UP MICROFINANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN’S GROUP– A new partnership has been established between the Home Finance Company Limited (HFC) and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation to assist local women groups in setting up their own businesses and income generating through accessing microfinance loans.
4. OLD CAPITAL HOSTS YOUTH CELEBRATION– The old capital of Levuka was in a vibrant and youthful atmosphere this week as youths of the Eastern Division marched through town to open their National Youth Day celebrations.
1. NEW SHRIMP STRAIN TO SAVE FIJI $20MILLION ANNUALLY
A new exotic shrimp species was introduced into the country this week and is expected to reduce Fiji’s reliance on imported shrimp.
The move, which saves $20million in import costs, is also designed to boost locals in the shrimp industry, many of who operate micro businesses in rural and maritime communities around the country.
The Ministry of Fisheries permanent secretary Mr Inoke Wainiqolo officiated the stocking of Liptopenaus vannamei post-larve at the department’s Galoa research station growth ponds
“This is a first for Fiji and the department is happy to introduce the vannamei into the bigger ponds to breed and extend the species to other parts of Fiji,” he said.
“The very purpose government is doing this is to assist those in the industry especially those in the shrimp business,” he added.
He highlighted that the current species of shrimp currently bred in the country was not adequate enough to fulfill the current demand and this was the main reason behind the introduction of this new species.
“The shrimp species monodon cannot fulfill the demand that exists and this is why government has brought this new species which is proven worldwide to have worked. It also will help in import substitution.”
With this new development, the Ministry will be working closely with those in the shrimp industry to look at ways of boosting harvesting as well as providing the necessary supplements for the new species.
“Our officers are researching on the feed that can be produced locally in order for this strain to grow successfully in the country,” he said.
He also advised farmers that the post-larve would take 7-8 months to mature and be able to breed.
The Ministry’s Senior Research Officer Shalendra Singh stated that the introduction of the species would help save $17-$20 million which is usually spent on importing 400 tonnes of shrimp into the country.
Mr Singh added that vannamei produced the largest percentage of global shrimp production due to its resistance in culture conditions.
“This strain of shrimp produces 85 per cent of global production and we will culture it in Fiji so it can produce the same good results it has been showing in Asian and Latin American countries,” Mr Singh said.
The first batch of Liptopenaus vannamei shrimp was brought from Thailand with another shipment expected to be brought from Saipan soon.
2. NEW PARTNERSHIP TO BENEFIT WOMEN
In the pursuit of using local natural resources as a source of employment for women, Government has engaged the services of a renowned local bamboo craftexpert to develop bamboo craft programs.
Mr Sukulu Soko, the assistant trainer at Sunnyville Bamboo Development this week signed off a service agreement with the Ministry of Women. Sunnyville which was established in 2004, is based at Wainibuku, Nasinu in Suva.
Mr Soko received his bamboo training from the INBAR (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan Association). INBAR is an intergovernmental organization based in China that has helped thousands of rural producers to make a living from bamboo.
“Bamboo is known as green gold because it is a good source of income for rural communities. There are resource owners who are more into timber and logging, as a bamboo specialist I always advise them there is a need to look at alternative like bamboo or otherwise all natives of timber species will become extinct”.
“I do awareness programs for interested companies and resource owners on the different uses of bamboo and Sunnyville Bamboo Development works in collaboration with the Department of Forestry in Nasinu and Secretariat of the Pacific Community to transfer knowledge of bamboo usages. It’s a valuable asset that offers opportunities for improved livelihood. Bamboos have multiple advantages, it can be used for horticulture, control soil erosion and even design creative art and crafts,” he said.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said this partnership will expand economic opportunities for women in the country particularly for those in the rural areas.
“Women are the best outlet to create bigger opportunities and niche market for bamboo, the Ministry is glad that this agreement has been signed and through it we will be able to reach out to more women and youths in diversifying the bamboo industry in Fiji,” Dr Koroivueta said.
3. HFC OPENS UP MICROFINANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN’S GROUP
A new partnership has been established between the Home Finance Company Limited (HFC) and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation to assist local women groups in setting up their own businesses and income generating through accessing microfinance loans.
A meeting was held this week between the Ministry and HFC officials along with the members of Nakaya Women’s Group of Tovata Village in Nasinu to brief them on the new assistance package. The women’ group will be the first to undergo the program.
Mrs Odille King Home, the HFC Branch Manager said the women’s group will be assisted through a startup capital required for their tailoring business.
“We are excited to start this partnership with the Ministry of Women to open upmicrofinance opportunities for women. We will assist the Nakaya Women’s Group by providing them with a startup capital for their tailoring business. Through the microfinance loan the women will purchase the material and produce sewing items for sales. The HFC is also assisting them to device their business plans and marketing strategies.
“HFC have helped individual women to start their own businesses like canteen, sewing, selling fish and catering to name a few and we even helped some of these women to purchase their own homes and properties,” Mrs King said.
The Home Finance Company provides a minimum start of loans ranging from $500 to$1000 to individuals and it has to be paid off in 1 year. The women’s groups are given a startup capital of $2000 and once this amount is paid off they can apply for $5000 which can be paid off in 2 years.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said the partnership would back up the financial needs of the women’s group who are determined to start their own businesses.
Dr Luveni said that Nakaya women’s group have shown great potential in sewing and one of the group members have also been trained through the Sewing Centre in Suva.
“Nakaya women’s group is one of the pilot projects for the Ministry where members of this group were given an opportunity to acquire tailoring skills from the Sewing Centre. Following their return from this training the members had shared their skills with the other women and together they have showed great potential and commitment in tailoring,” Minister Luveni said.
Dr Luveni said that she was aware that finding a startup capital was one of the challenges faced by the women’s group wanting to start their business and as such the partnership with HFC has been formed to offer a way forward for the women to “fulfill their dreams”.
Mrs Marica Vakatalai, the president for Nakaya Women’s Group said the partnership is a boost to the consolidated efforts of the women to make a difference intheir communities.
“We are grateful to the Ministry for opening up this new opportunity for us women who don’t have permanent employment and we have been looking for ways to support our families. This will help us to earn income and improve our livelihood. We are currently sewing and selling clothes and are able to make more than $70 per week and with this assistance we can expand our group’s tailoring business,” she added.
4. OLD CAPITAL HOSTS YOUTH CELEBRATION
The old capital of Levuka was in a vibrant and youthful atmosphere this week as youths of the Eastern Division marched through town to open their National Youth Day celebrations.
The celebrations were officially opened by the Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Viliame Naupoto at Nasau Park amidst hundreds of young people who turned up to be part of the event.
The celebrations in Levuka marked a milestone as it was the first time for the Eastern Division to celebrate National Youth Day.
Mr Naupoto, as part of his official address at the celebrations highlighted Government’s commitment and priority towards development of young people through education and youth initiatives.
“It’s worthy giving our youth the knowledge and the quality of life our young people truly deserve,” Mr Naupoto said.
The Minister further urged the youth of the Eastern Division to take responsibility of the effects that their actions have on others.
Mr Naupoto called on elders to harness the energy of the youth for it is their vital role to rudder their energy with the relevant wisdom.
The day was full of energy as young people took part in organized competitions and activities.
Government departments, stakeholders, schools and communities in Levuka all joined hands to make the celebration a success.
The Eastern Division youth representatives had participated in a Youth Conference earlier in the week to youth issues in their division.
The Eastern Division is planning to have the Youth Day celebration in Lau next year.