The Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy led a tree planting exercise in Dratabu, Nadi that was held simultaneously across 49 other villages in the weekend to commemorate Fiji’s Independence Day.

The Minister acknowledged the immense contribution of past leaders from 1874 till date including those from the United Kingdom.

“Since 1970 there have been a number of leaders in this country who contributed to the growth and development of Fiji to reach where it is today.

“Our first Prime Minister, the Hon. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, our Statesman, our Governor Generals, our Presidents, Prime Ministers – all of them contributed to the contemporary Fiji that we see today,” he reflected.

He also recognized the role of leaders outside Government, whom he said, also gave their time, resources and energy to help develop the country.

“Our leaders outside Government; leaders of NGOs; Civil Society Organisations; formal and non-formal institutions, religious institutions like the Methodist Church, Sangam, Muslim League, Sanatan Dharam – these institutions have helped shaped Fiji and today after 50 years of independence we reflect on their contributions.”

Dr Reddy said the task of institutional development would continue and it was important to ensure the security of future generations.

However, he said, the lesson that COVID-19 taught, was that food and nutritional security was critical, and aligned perfectly to one of the Ministry’s strategic objective.

“I want to announce here in Dratabu Village that as part of food and nutritional strategy we will be launching, the #iPlanted50 initiative where we will be planting 50 fruit trees in 50 villages.

“It is our contribution, it is your contribution to secure food and nutritional security for our children, their children, and future generations.”

Taukei Navo, Ratu Meli Saukuru thanked the Hon. Minister and his team for coming to Dratabu Village and said the village was blessed to start off the next 50 years of Independence with Agriculture.

“We are so proud and blessed that one of the Government Minister Hon. Reddy is here in Dratabu.

“We have passed 50 years now. But we are looking forward to start off with Agriculture. That is the life for another 50 years,” Ratu Meli said.

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