The Minister for Forest Osea Naiqamu and his team travelled 26 kilometres from the Kings Highway on Thursday to reach Nameka Village in the interior of Tailevu close to the Naitasiri boarder. Nameka is the 6th village in the province of Tailevu to be part of the 4 million trees in 4 years initiative consultation by Government.
Although this was the first time for Minister Naiqamu to set foot on Nameka village, historically he became the first Minister of Forest to visit and meet with the villagers.
Minister Naiqamu reiterated the call by Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama that Fijians need to unite on this course and disregard their political differences.
“Whether you voted for this Government or not this is our government. We must unite on this tree planting initiative because this is one of the best solution for climate change which is affecting small island nations in the Pacific and around the world,” Naiqamu said.
“We must unite on this development because it will not only benefit us but also benefit our children and grandchildren.”
“Thus within the next 4 years Government needs the support of all Fijians in order to achieve our target of 1 million trees in year for 4 years. I am encouraging you to plant whatever plant you prefer. Trees that can be used as timber, firewood, fruit trees or even plants that can be used as Fijian medicine. The choice is entirely yours,” Naiqamu said.
“Our forefathers never experienced climate change. Today while sitting inside this hall we can feel the heat brought about by climate change. Experts have advised us that one of the best solution for climate change is to plant more trees,” Naiqamu added.
“Trees are vital to our livelihood as you know they provide us with clean air to breathe. It is therefore very important for us to plant more trees especially on our idle lands. “Some people might ask why are we visiting our rural people during this tree planting campaign? The answer is that 91 percent of land in Fiji is owned by iTaukei,” Naiqamu said.
The Director Forestry for the Central/ Eastern Division Apisai Rinamalo told the people of Nameka that Government will help families, landowning units, and villages who want to plant trees on their idle land.
“Government will help you in providing seedlings and advise on the kind of trees that you want to plant on your land. There will also be incentive given to landowners by the Government. The trees that you plant is entirely yours,” Rinamalo said.
“You need to sit and discuss this issue as a family or as a landowning unit and written agreement put on papers to avoid problems during harvesting. It is important to have the consent of the landowning unit that you belong to,” Rinamalo said.