Feature

Bainivalu Reaps What He Sows

The Nalotu villager from the district of Yawe in Kadavu was one of those who planted pine in his village way back in 1979.
18 May 2020 13:02
Bainivalu Reaps What He Sows
Villagers of Naqalotu in Yawe with sawn pine logs ready for their new homes.. Photo: Ministry of Forestry Inset: Kelepi Bainivalu.

For Kelepi Bainivalu seeing the fruit of his hard work 41 years ago is something he will cherish.

The Nalotu villager from the district of Yawe in Kadavu was one of those who planted pine in his village way back in 1979.

“I am fortunate enough to see the pine I planted four decades ago is being used to provide shelter for my fellow villagers after a disaster,” Mr Bainivalu said.

“I am so overwhelmed with happiness knowing that I have done something worthwhile for my ‘vanua’.”

Mr Bainivalu met with Minister for Forestry Osea Naiqamu on May 9, 2020, to express his appreciation of Government’s plan to buy all the damaged pine in Kadavu.

As part of Tropical Cyclone Harold and COVID-19 response, the Ministry of Forestry in collaboration with Fiji Pine Trust have put measures in place whereby pine resource owners and villagers who are part of a pine scheme in Kadavu can sell their salvageable pine trees.

“Government is mindful that the majority of the pine plantations here in Kadavu today, is the sweat of your forefathers and they are at their maturity stage having withstood natural disasters for the past 30-40 years,” Mr Naiqamu said.

“We understand that as pine resource owners you also had financial aspirations, but have lost all hope with the onslaught of TC Harold.

“Government, with Fiji Pine Trust, will set a stumpage rate whereby pine resource owners will be paid and will also ensure 886 families, who are homeless, will have a roof over your heads in the next few months,” the Forestry Minister said.

Mr Bainivalu thanked Government for its foresight as not only will he be getting a newly built home, but he could also collect some money from the trees he planted four decades ago.

“In the district of Yawe, 47 homes were destroyed by TC Harold and within a week Ministry of Forestry officials came here to Kadavu and with the co-operation of my fellow villagers have managed to saw pine logs for 40 homes leaving seven homes to complete before they move on to another district,” Mr Bainivalu said.

“This to me indicates that actions speak louder than words for Government and we are grateful to the Ministry of Forestry and its staff on the ground and we acknowledge their hard work.”

Children of Kadavu sit on the sawn pine logs that will be used to provide them shelter in the coming weeks. Photo: Ministry of Forestry

Children of Kadavu sit on the sawn pine logs that will be used to provide them shelter in the coming weeks. Photo: Ministry of Forestry

Mr Bainivalu’s village falls under the Yawe Pine Scheme – one of the largest schemes in Kadavu, which occupy 222.2 hectares of land with an estimated pine plantation volume of 27,552 m3.

Yawe Pine Scheme is one of the longest pine schemes in Kadavu after being establishment 41 years ago and consists of pine owners from the eight villages of Busa, Nalotu, Naqalotu, Yakita, Tawava, Natokalau, Korovou and Dagai.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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