YOUTHS of Cikobia island have opened a new shop aimed at economically empowering the villagers.
The $2000 shop allows villagers to sell their products at the centre.
Cikobia Island Youth Project co-ordinator Penina Namata said the opening of the shop helped them achieve their development plans.
Ms Namata said Cikobia youths managed to raise $1000 which was match-funded by the Global Environment Facility program through a gift of $1000.
"The shop, which started off with funding of $2000, has been a blessing for the youths and people on the island," she said.
"Profits from the sales are being diverted to environment conservation programs that will help ensure the island is resilient to climate change.
"The youths have even ventured into planting trees on the beaches of the island to prevent further eroding of soil into the sea during wet weather."
Ms Namata said the shop had even helped villagers save money they would have spent travelling to Labasa to buy their gocerries.
"The shop has made life easier for the villagers as they do not have to spend the $150 transportation costs they used to do in the past.
"Youths of the island are now participating in food security programs in which root crops are being ground to flour for longer storage and allowing them to withstand natural conditions."
Ms Namata said produce on the island were sold in the shop including art and craft for ladies, candles, virgin coconut oil and honey. The project has been supported by government through the Commissioner Norther's office and other government departments," she said.
"The youths now eagerly await a planned rootcrop competition on the island."