A STUDY by the NGO Think Pacific reveals that 250,000 people in Fiji live in poverty and a lot more live on and a little above the poverty line.
Speaking at the opening of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty celebrations in Natewa, the deputy permanent secretary of the Policy Unit in the Prime Minister's office, Peniana Lalabalavu, said rural people suffered the most extreme consequences of poverty.
Mrs Lalabalavu said Fiji would not be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal number one — the Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger — to a negotiable level by 2015.
"However, that should not stop us from continuing the good work of 20 years as Fiji has progressed in the fight of poverty," she said.
"It has been a huge achievement and with the UN's Millennium Development Goals, it has become a powerful incentive for real concrete and combined action.
"Few of us in Fiji now go to bed hungry, die from preventable diseases or walk many miles to access basic services."
Mrs Lalabalavu said this was only possible because "we all worked hard together".
"We now have drinking water, health centres, highways, access farm roads and electricity. However, there are too many people trapped in poverty, especially with access to main centres, to sell their produce, transport and increasing costs.
"Our nation has struggled in so many ways to try to bring opportunities to every Fijian."
Poverty Eradication Unit director Meleti Bainimarama said the government identified the event as a means of organising a showcase with their various departments.
"It is a quarterly event that we organise now and we take the event down to rural areas so that people get a clear direction of the various government departments and their functions," he said.