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“The Best New Year Gift’ Ministry Assists 7 Woodcarvers

It was a proud and emotional moment for seven woodcarvers yesterday as Government helped seven woodcarvers improve their business. They received woodcarving machines and tools from the Minister of Fisheries
01 Jan 2016 11:34
“The Best New Year Gift’ Ministry Assists 7 Woodcarvers
From Left: Penijamini Kuboutawa, Lepani Moce, Setareki Cabebula, Minister for Fisheries and Forest Osea Naiqamu, Losalni Popua, Eliki Bilitki, Marika Yalimaiwai and Iliesa Latu during the handing over of wood carving machines, yesterday. Photo: Shahani Mala.

It was a proud and emotional moment for seven woodcarvers yesterday as Government helped seven woodcarvers improve their business.

They received woodcarving machines and tools from the Minister of Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu, in Nasinu yesterday.

The assistance, worth about $46,000, will help the woodcarvers produce more and at a faster rate.

Equipment handed-over yesterday included bandsaws, wood lathes, drills, chainsaws, saws, sanders, chisel and carving knife sets and other tools.

One of the woodcarvers, Marika Yalimaiwai, 68, said most of them had been struggling for years because of lack of equipment.

“Most of us have been carving manually for years and this is our best New Year gift,” Mr Yalimaiwai told Mr Naiqamu during the presentation at the Ministry’s Timber Utilisation Division at Makoi, Nasinu.

“I am so thankful to Government because this will speed-up our production time to meet market orders. For the last 40 years, I have been carving wood to send my children to school and never received any assistance like this.

“Most of the time I could not complete my orders on time because I did not have proper tools. With this new equipment, I will now be able to carve and sell more handicrafts.”

Mr Yalimaiwai is the owner of Gaunavinaka Handicrafts. He operates from his home at Nakasi, Nasinu. He is a traditional carver and is from Fulaga, Lau.

He received woodcarving machines and equipment worth $7700.

Another woodcarver Penijamini Kuboutawa, 58, the owner of Turtle Fiji Woodcarving said: “I will now be able to carve more handicrafts.”

He has been operating his home-based business for more than 20 years.

“I plan to produce more handicrafts and sell them to Jack’s of Fiji from next year. I am thankful to Government because this will boost my business.”

Mr Naiqamu, in his speech, said: “The purpose of this scheme is to drive the woodcarving business in Fiji from an informal platform in which it operates at this moment to a formal business. This will enable it to move even further in contributing to Fiji’s socio-economic development.”

Mr Naiqamu said the informal woodcarving sector which included artifacts, contributed 10 per cent to the total timber and wood products sold locally and overseas.

 

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