4:50PM

PROMOTING PRODUCTIVITY AND EXCELLENCE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE 

Initiatives like the Service Excellence Awards (SEA) has promoted productivity and instil excellence in service delivery within the public service sector.

This was highlighted by the Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand at a press conference this afternoon with senior officials from other ministries and agencies.

Mr Chand said since its inception 9 years ago, the awards program and framework has brought about significant improvements in the public service.

“For us at PSC we have improved performance through achievement of targeted activities under leadership, education and training, social justice, poverty reduction and civil service reform,” he said.

“As custodians of the framework in the service, PSC is also working to meet the requirements of SEA framework and to improve our systems and process,” he said.

Fiji’s Roving Ambassador to the Polynesian and Micronesian Islands in the Pacific Litia Mawi said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ participation in the exercise has contributed to the improvement of services at various missions.

“During evaluation processes we have had to request the various heads of missions and counsellors witness the processes of obtaining excellence,” Ms Mawi said.

“I must commend the PSC introducing such exercises which will the ministries too improve their services for all Fijians,” she said.

With this year’s theme focused on Enhancing advocacy for Climate change and sustainable future, Mr Chand is confident that all civil servants will be able to learn more on the topic and reflect it at community level.

The awards is categorised into four categories, which is the Commitment award, the Public Service Excellence, the Prime Ministers Award and the Achievement Award.

The President of Kiribati His Excellency the Anote Tong will be the Guest Spaker at the event on Friday.

4:17PM

CALL TO INCREASE LOCAL PRODUCTION: AGRICULTURE MINISTRY 

Fiji’s Agriculture Ministry has called on all stakeholders for a collective commitment towards increasing Fiji’s local food production.

The Hon. Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural Maritime Development and Disaster Management Joeli Cawaki included this in his maiden speech in Parliament this week.

Mr Cawaki highlighted the high level of the food imports in Fiji compared to local food exports.

“With the amount of fertile land we have, Fiji should be a major food exporter and yet, we have failed to capitalise on the opportunities we have had, even with our domestic markets,” he said.

He stated that Fijians have started to grow some of the produce that we have been importing at high cost and every individual needs to be more attuned to our local markets and the demand for food in the tourism industry in particular.

There is a need, he said to have more farmers producing more local food and that is why the Government encourages youth to turn to farming.

“We should be able to feed ourselves to guarantee our food security, and we should be able to produce enough to be a food exporter, not an importer,” he added.

He pointed out that he was encouraged by the plans of the Government to provide the iTaukei with the means to develop their land and reap the benefits.

He emphasized there is a need to create more jobs in rural areas and to improve access to education and health.

“We are delivering such things as electricity and clean water that many isolated places in Fiji have never experienced.

“Government has also put a huge amount of effort into improving transportation links with inter-island vessels, so Fijians are less isolated and we can move larger equipment to outer islands quickly and more efficiently.

He also urged the Fijian people to seize the opportunities that have been provided by Government and run with them.

“I am especially keen on our young people to take the advantage of our free schooling incentives; there is now no reason for any Fijian parents not to send their child to school and no reason why that child cannot go for higher education if he or she has the capability.

Mr Cawaki stated that they have heard a lot of drop-outs or vulivakavo in our iTaukei society in particular and stressed to put those days behind and embrace the education revolution that Government is offering because that is the key to a better Fiji for the iTaukei, as well as every Fijian. He added that his attitude will move the nation forward.

9:33AM

EASTERN DIVISION AGRICULTURE SHOW AND WORLD FOOD DAY IN LEVUKA 

The 2014 Eastern Division Agriculture Show will begin tomorrow (Thursday 17 October) at Nasau Park in Levuka Town in collaboration with World Food Day.

Ministry of Health’s National Adviser for Non Communicable Diseases, Dr Isimeli Tukana will open the event while the Ministry of Agriculture’s Deputy Secretary Agriculture Development, Mr Uraia Waibuta will close the Agriculture Show on Friday.

An annual event, World Food Day is being organised by the National Food and Nutrition Centre (NFNC) in partnership with the Lomaiviti Education Office, the Lomaiviti Health Services and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The global theme for the 2014 World Food Day had been localised to “Family Farming: Feeding Fiji, Caring for the Environment” coinciding with this year’s Eastern Division Agriculture Show focusing on the similar theme “Sustainable Family Farming for Food, Nutrition and Livelihood Security.”

World Food Day in Fiji is celebrated every year to heighten public awareness locally of the world food problem and strengthening solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

Since 1981, the National Food and Nutrition Centre has played a significant role in organising meetings and assembling committees each year with relevant stakeholders to manage World Food Day events.

A total of nine schools are expected to attend and participate in the garden competition, poster and oratory contest during tomorrow’s celebration. Education officers from the Ministry of Education will be assessing the school poster competition and the oratory contests.

The Lomaiviti Health Services will also be providing screening for the community basically height, weight, waist, blood pressure and blood sugar. Nutrition awareness materials provided by the National Food and Nutrition Centre (NFNC) will also be disseminated to the public during the day.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s Eastern Division Show will provide a display of crops and livestock suitable for small scale farming cultivation and breeding and will also be assessing Ovalau school gardens competition and three Farmers Awards: i) Best Backyard Farmer, ii) Best Vegetable Farmer and iii) Best Organic Crop Farmer.

3:27PM

MINISTER PRAISE ROLE OF WOMEN IN RURAL FIJI

Fiji’s Minister for Women Rosy Akbar has commended the contribution made by women living in rural communities towards Fiji’s socio-economic development.

The Minister made the comments at the International Rural Women’s Day celebration, which drew the attention of many women, market vendors and children at the Labasa Civic Centre today.

Officiating at the event, the Minister highlighted that the day was set aside to pay tribute to those women living in rural communities across the world including Fiji.

The Minister said with the collaboration of the United Nations Women’s Organization it has ensured that women’s rights are enforced and protected.

“When women are given access to land there are improvements household welfare, agriculture productivity and gender equality.”

The Minister also led public consultations in Labasa today where more than 100 people attended to seek advice on Government’s social welfare and assistance programs. Today’s program saw the Minister lead a team of officials from her ministries holding face-to-face consultations with the northern public.

“I can assure you when we return to Suva we will take your issues and will give you and answer in two weeks time”, the Minister told Fijians who turned out today.

73 year Satya Kumar said she attended the consultation to find out how she could apply to the welfare scheme and its benefits.

“This is very useful for Labasa and all other places, we the people are given the chance to meet the minister and tell her of our problems and seek advice on what we should do”, Mrs Kumar said.

The Ministry is expected to hold public consultations in other parts of the country soon.

3:30PM

DELANA LOOK TO INSPIRE STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES 

More than 540 students with disabilities from across the country were inspired today by the message delivered by Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Iliesa Delana.

Using his own example where he won Fiji’s first gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, the Assistant Minister said physical disabilities shouldn’t be a deterrent to achieve growth and development. He reminded them to focus on their aspirations without letting their disability stand in their way.

The Assistant Minister was speaking at the 2014 National Paralympic Games at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka this morning where he commended the work carried out by teachers, parents and community members towards empowering children living with disabilities.

“This day is meant to recognise their abilities and not their disabilities - as unique, special and equal individuals and we should recognise the presence of individuals with special needs in our society and treat them with fairness and equality. They are an integral part of family and society,” he said to the crowd, which included members of the Nadroga provincial rugby team who participated at today’s event.

“We hope that through the collective support of everyone gathered here today, more heroes will be unearthed.”

The two – day program will focus on the theme ‘Ability to Shine Through our Heroes’ and Hon. Delana said the event could be a launching pad for a talented individual yet to be unearthed.

“Today could be a dawn of a bright new future for someone with special need similar to me in any discipline,” he said.

The sports day programme has seen students from as far as Savusavu and Taveuni participating with other students from around the country.