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Rural Development On The Up: Seruiratu

Rural Development On The Up: Seruiratu
(From Left) Director General CIRDAP - Dr Cecep Effendi, Minister for Rural Development - Inia Seruiratu and Chairperson EC (29) Shri Mohapatra at the 30th Regular Meeting of CIRDAP Executive Committee. Photo: Sheetal Prasad
August 18
10:36 2015

Standards of living in the rural areas are improving, as the Government implements a range of comprehensive policies, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Natural Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu.

He was speaking yesterday at the 30th Executive Committee Meeting for the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) at theTanoa International Hotel in Nadi.

Representatives from 15 countries are meeting to discuss methods of improving rural development and poverty alleviation.

“Fiji, as a small, open and relatively a more developed economy in the South Pacific region has made invariable progress on poverty reduction on broader measures of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Mr Seruiratu.

“A number of strategies were introduced to address such issues. Policies were developed and government programmes reworked to empower our rural population.

“The establishment of Fiji’s integrated rural development structure was considered vital to ensure development was better coordinated, and redundancies in the process of development eliminated.

“These were aimed at ensuring that the needs of the people remained the focus of development.”

Rural residents’ aspirations were mainstreamed into national development plans and programmes with line ministries and other implementing agencies responsible for implementation, according to Mr Seruiratu.

“Additionally, a number of programmes were also introduced by Government to improve rural income and reduce poverty such as the food voucher scheme under the Family Assistance Programme, increase family assistance allowance; a better pension system; construction of additional housing units; income generation programmes, upgrading of health and education facilities; extension of rural electrification grid.”

He added that the key drivers were Fiji’s accelerated consumption-led growth, significant improvement in infrastructure and communication and increased government spending on programmes for rural development.

“Fiji has made good progress over the years. We’ve had in the last four years, a period of unprecedented sustained economic growth.

“The decision of my government to become a member of CIRDAP in 2010 demonstrates Fiji’s commitment to rural development, and our eagerness to learn from the best practices tested and adopted by CIRDAO member countries.”

He said that the task at hand for the delegates was to work in concert to find solutions to the common concerns, as developing countries unified under the umbrella of CIRDAP.

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