An article in today's Fiji Post - and as a positive spin on the Look North policy - and (forget the grievances of the cane farmers for a moment) says that micro-enterprises are going well. Well... I do hope so. (Actually I try not to repost the bad news stories from Labasa and there are plenty of them!)
North development taking shape
8-Apr-2009 08:56 AM
THE government’s Northern Development Programme (NDP) implemented in 2007 is progressing well according to Commissioner Northern Inia Seruiratu.
The division’s most senior civil servant says the northern community, particularly farmers and micro-entrepreneurs are now realising the benefits of the programme in enhancing their livelihoods.
Seruiratu said the economy had been picking up in terms of employment generation since government injected $5 million as part of its ‘Look North’ policy
“The NDP is meeting its target although it may be an indicator for us that the programme is doing well, our concern is the monitoring of the projects, so a monitoring team has been set up to look at the progress and the achievements of the NDP,” he said.
Seruiratu also commended the work done by the Committee for Better Utilisation
of Land (CBUL) which had worked on the renewing of expired leases where some farmers have resettled to their farms while the processing of the renewing of expired leases continues.
However, he said that renewed land leases would not only focus on sugarcane, but diversify into other agricultural activities.
“If we look at the history of the economic situation of the north deteriorated once our tenants leases were not renewed and this led to the creation of the NDP,” Seruiratu said.
Programme Manager Waisale Tuidama reports that 361 projects have been approved by the National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprises Development and these range from small retail businesses like fishing to dalo and yaqona farming.
“I really have a lot of optimism for Vanua Levu and this programme will shake Vanua Levu in terms of the multiplier effect of this fund,” Tuidama said.