Sugarcane farmers in Fiji’s northern division are happy to see road rehabilitation works officially completed on 30kms of cane access roads and associated infrastructure in the Bulivou sector in Labasa. The completed road works will benefit over 90 cane-farming households in the area, thanks to a significant partnership between the European Union (EU), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Fiji Government.
The Head of Co-operation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner, together with the Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr Colin Tukuitonga, and the Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, Sakeasi Waikere officially launched the completed road works in Bulivou today.
The Bulivou road rehabilitation works have been funded by the EU under their “Accompanying Measures for the Sugar Protocol” (AMSP) programme, in partnership with the SPC and the Fiji Government, through the EU-SPC “Reforestation of the Degraded Foothills of the Sugar Belt (REFOREST Fiji) Project, being implemented by SPC.
“The Reforest project has been supporting selected sugarcane communities and farmer groups through establishment and maintenance of protection forests, on-farm woodlots and forestry, and commercial plantations. Given the evolving needs of the sugar industry, a new result area targeting rehabilitation of rural roads and drainage was added to complement the planting activities. The rehabilitated cane access roads will directly benefit close to 100 sugarcane farmers in the Bulivou Sector and will assist to effectively and efficiently transport cane to Labasa mill. As a ripple effect, this will mean that hundreds of residents living along these roads will enjoy improved accessibility to basic facilities and infrastructure relating to health, education, markets, public administration and ports,” Mr Wagner said.
“SPC is proud to support the advancement of Fiji’s sugar cane industry through the Reforest Fiji and other sugar projects and we are extremely happy to be working with farmers and communities that traditionally have a high-income dependence on the production and harvesting of sugarcane. We hope that the road rehabilitation works being undertaken through the Reforest Fiji project will enhance development and will further improve transportation for farmers and lead to improved livelihoods for families and communities,” SPC’s Director General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said.
The Reforest Fiji project has also been working to improve watershed management and livelihoods of communities in Fiji’s sugarcane belt through reforestation and the establishment of tree plantations in Viti Levu, with the Drasa, Malolo and Koronubu sugarcane sectors being priority focus areas for reforestation support.
The Reforestation of the Degraded Foothills of the Sugar Belt (REFOREST Fiji) Project is a four-year (2014-2018) project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). The REFOREST Fiji project is focused on watershed management and is designed to improve livelihoods and empower people and communities through reforestation.
It is expected that the project will result in the establishment of tree plantations of various models and designs in the sugarcane belt of Viti Levu, with the Drasa, Malolo and Koronubu sugarcane sectors being priority focus areas for this support.
The Reforest Fiji project is financed by the EU and is one of several projects supported by the EU and implemented by the SPC in Fiji’s sugarcane belt. These projects are linked to the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) programme and are designed 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. It also aims to improve the livelihoods of sugarcane dependent populations, increase income and reduce poverty.