NATION

Udu Fishers Praise Govt Help

New solar freezer bring smiles to villagers   A new solar freezer was yesterday installed at Udu Village in Totoya, Lau, to help fishers store their catch intended for sale
17 Jan 2019 10:00
Udu Fishers Praise Govt Help
The Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau (left), handing over a solar freezer to the village headman of Udu, Totoya in Lau, on January 16, 2019. Photo: Wati Talebula

New solar freezer bring smiles to villagers

 

A new solar freezer was yesterday installed at Udu Village in Totoya, Lau, to help fishers store their catch intended for sale to merchants or at markets in Viti Levu.

The solar freezer is a pilot project by the Ministry of Fisheries.

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau handed one unit solar freezer to the villagers. It costs around $20,000.

He was joined by his newly appointed permanent secretary Craig Strong and team who are touring Totoya and Ono-i-Lau this week.

Over the years, villagers silently suffered as they struggled to keep their catch fresh for markets intended for the main land.

Village headman, Railala Bilitaki, said they had to go to other villages in the district of Totoya to store their catch.

“Going to the other villages cost us about $150 to $200 for fuel. After that we have to buy gallons of premix for the house that has the freezer. The longer we keep our catch, the more gallons of premix we have to buy.

“For example, if I keep my catch in the freezer for two days then I have to buy two gallons of premix which costs $28,” Mr Bilitaki said.

Mr Bilitaki said their prayers have been answered.

“We are so happy because now we will not buy fuel and the location of the solar freezer is just a walking distance from our homes.

“We want to thank the Ministry of Fisheries for fulfilling their promise made to us last year.”

Government’s pilot project:

Mr Koroilavesau said the project was to benefit villages that do not have fresh water.

He said the original concept was initiated in their 2017-2018 plan as the Prime Minister had instructed the ministry to look at developing financial projects that could assist the rural and isolated communities.

“After the discussion, I briefed the Prime Minister that I wanted to initiate rural fishing projects within the Fijian communities.

“The solar freezers will enable them to store their catch so that they can sell them to merchants who come in the inter-island vessels.

“I visited all the islands in Fiji where I thought that needed this project. The project is basically targeted at small island communities where they don’t have fresh water. All the areas that have fresh water have ice plants.

“This is quite an extensive programme in which Government has committed 40 of these units which would be stored in the villages that we have identified.”

Altogether, Mr Koroilavesau said the 40 units costs around $800,000.

The initial four was funded by the ministry and the other 36 is from the money gathered through the Environment & Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL).

Today, Mr Koroilavesau is expected to hand over a solar freezer in Ono-i-Lau.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: