NEWS

Australia Steps Up To Aid Vendors

The Australian government has promised a provision of seeds, tools, fertilisers and insecticides to 1580 market vendors affected by Cyclone Winston. This is for them to grow and sell their
20 Aug 2016 14:31
Australia Steps Up To Aid Vendors
Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells with Parveen Kumar with vendors at Rakiraki Market yesterday. Photo: Charles Chambers

The Australian government has promised a provision of seeds, tools, fertilisers and insecticides to 1580 market vendors affected by Cyclone Winston. This is for them to grow and sell their produce at all municipal markets.

This was announced yesterday by Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells while announcing her government’s commitment to funding the building of the Rakiraki Market.

“I had seen some of the devastation first hand,” Ms Fierravanti-Wells said.

“I stand amongst people who showed enormous courage, great resilience and strength to survive the cyclone and to help others to rebuild their lives.

“This market place is an example of how the resilient people of Fiji are picking up the pieces, rebuilding their lives and rebuilding their communities.

“Markets provide opportunities for people to earn an income and support their families and support their communities.”

She said she was proud Australia was one of the first to come Fiji’s assistance in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston following the cyclone.

“And that is what good neighbours and friends are for – we help each especially other in times of need,” she said.

She said Australia had already provided aid to Fiji following Tropical Cyclone Winston to the tune of $53 million.

“Australia will fund the rebuilding of the Rakiraki Municipal market and will also assist in repairing and rebuilding other markets in Fiji,” she said.

“We recognise that the market vendors travel far and wide to sell their produce in the market and they need safe clean places to rest and sleep and this particularly the case for women who make up three quarters of the vendors in Fiji and who have to stay overnight with their children.”

She said the market would be more resilient to future disasters and would be accessible to all, including people with disabilities.

Ms Fierravanti-Wells said while rebuilding was in progress, the Australian government would ensure there were temporary shelters available for business to continue.

Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, Infrastructure and Transport, Parveen Kumar said the total cost of rebuilding the Rakiraki Market would be $3.2 million.

This would be taken from the Australian government aid of $4.7 million (US$2.3 million) through UN Women.

Earlier this month, Mr Kumar announced that the balance of that aid would be used for the upgrade of the Levuka and Savusavu markets.

“My Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment endeavours to do this by creating an enabling economic environment to stimulate private sector investment through ensuring socioeconomic stability, through investment in major infrastructure including municipal infrastructure and services and a variety of fiscal incentives,” Mr Kumar said.

“Municipal markets and bus stand development are certainly urban specific products with responsibility falling on the urban councils to consistently develop to meet customer and vendor demands.

“Farmers bringing produce through bus and customers taking produce through have convenient bus stands effectively linked to the municipal market infrastructure.”

Mr Kumar said the main agenda was to develop an inclusive urban economic environment-based town centre where trade promoted wealth generation.

He said the construction of a new market facility for the people of Rakiraki would greatly assist farmers and market vendors in selling fresh farm produce.

 

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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