Island News

Wairiki a stepping stone to development

Written By : Sun Fiji Newsroom. The first shipment of pine chips to Japan later this year will be the stepping stone for the province of Bua to develop its
06 Sep 2008 12:00

Written By : Sun Fiji Newsroom. The first shipment of pine chips to Japan later this year will be the stepping stone for the province of Bua to develop its infrastructures and the people.
Commenting on the soon to be opened port in Bua, Minister of Primary Industries Joketani Cokanasiga said that the pine trees in the province will rake in millions when harvested and this should help in the provinces quest for development.
Mr. Cokanasiga who recently commissioned the new machines at Wairiki said that Bua has always cried for development and one way government has facilitated the province is the construction of the port facility in Wairiki.
“The port facility while in Bua will also cater for the pines all over Vanua Levu and the contribution of the land which the port sits on is quite an enormous role by the province of Bua.”
The Wairiki Port will be operated by Tropik Woods Limited and the first shipment is expected to leave Bua by the end of this year. Mr. Cokanasiga however adds that the building up of chip stocks has been taking place before hand and enough will be ready for the first shipment.
“I hope to have the port officially opened before the first shipment leaves for Japan,” he said. The Wairiki facility will be able to flake 1000 tonnes of pine log in 8 hours enabling it to produce 3000 tonnes every 24 hours.
The Drasa plant in Lautoka produces 1300 tonnes every 24 hours.
“The machines at Wairiki is a smaller version of the one in Lautoka but it is a new machine and very reliable,” said Mr. Cokanasiga.
“One advantage of having the facility here in Bua is that the landowners or owners of plantations do not have to send their pine to Viti Levu thus reducing costs and wear on their trucks,” adds Mr. Cokanasiga.
“For every shipment the chips will rake in close to $ 11 million and part of this will flow back to the landowners who will be the main beneficiaries.”
However in light of complaints of illegal logging in Bua, Mr. Cokanasiga stressed that the proper management of natural resources like forests is imperative and landowners should explore ways to invest on their resources and protect it from being exploited.
“I have had discussions with the Provincial Administrator Bua and saw the need for a Forestry Officer to be based in Nabouwalu to verify licenses of loggers who have been transporting lumber to Viti Levu from Bua.”
“Timber is an important resource and I call on landowners to properly managed these as it is a resource that can’t be renewed overnight; once it is gone it will be decades for reforestation to take place.”
Mr. Cokanasiga urged landowners to seek advice from civil servant in their districts before embarking on projects that involve their resources.

Ministry of Agriculture.

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