NATION

Cane farmers receive tree samples

The largest distribution of trees was being done yester­day at Rarawai, in Ba, where farmers received a total of 7,460 trees. The exercise coincides with the International Day of Forests
22 Mar 2018 11:00
Cane farmers receive tree samples
SPC-EU Reforest Fiji Project staff distribute over 7,000 trees to sugarcane farmers in Rarawai, Ba (20/3/18). Photo: SPC

The largest distribution of trees was being done yester­day at Rarawai, in Ba, where farmers received a total of 7,460 trees.

The exercise coincides with the International Day of Forests which was observed yesterday.

Tree samples being distributed comprise sandalwood, vesi, citrus and mahogany. These are being dis­tributed to farmers in the Saweni/Natova, Mota/Naloto, Rarawai, Tavua and Rakiraki farming com­munities

This is a reforestation project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). Project organ­isers have begun distributing over 21,000 trees to farmers in the sugar­cane belt in the Western Division.

Head of Co-operation at the Del­egation of the European Union for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner, said the European Union was pleased to be funding the Reforest Fiji project.

He said: “Reforest Fiji has been working with the Fiji Sugar Cor­poration (FSC) and the EU-funded Fairtrade project to support leader farmers and link farmers through the distribution of high-value trees to sugarcane farms on Viti Levu’s sugarcane belt.”

“Once these trees are established, they will protect soil, reduce ero­sion, provide for species habitat, support the increasing use of re­newable energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels and fight climate change. They will also assist farm­ers to supplement future on-farm incomes.”

SPC Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga highlighted the impor­tance of forests for building sus­tainable communities.

Mr Tukuitonga said: “Investing in healthy forests brings wide ranging benefits to our communities.

“Forests support clean water and clean air. They become a source of local nutrition, medicine and, when used responsibly, provide a reliable income.

“The Reforest Fiji Project is a great example of creating a resil­ient Pacific and we are very proud to be a part of this effort.”

The trees are then being distribut­ed to leader farmers, who will then pass them on to link farmers.

The Reforest Fiji project’s tree dis­tribution exercise is running from March 6 – 28.

Background

Reforest Fiji is one of several projects implemented by SPC and financed by the EU in Fiji’s sugar­cane belt.

These projects are linked to the EU’s Accompanying Measures for the Sugar Protocol (AMSP) pro­gramme and aim to help strength­en rural sugar-income dependent communities in response to the EU’s Sugar Price Reform and the adverse conditions in the sugar in­dustry.

The AMSP programme is designed to improve the livelihoods of sug­arcane dependent populations, in­crease income and reduce poverty.

ABOUT:

The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and tech­nical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. It is an international de­velopment organisation owned and governed by its 26 countries and territory members.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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