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Fiji Time: 7:51 PM on Friday 1 August

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Kiribati Government invests in 2210 hectares

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

THE Kiribati Government has secured 2210 hectares of land at Natoavatu Estate in Vanua Levu.

Confirming this, Kiribati's High Commissioner to Fiji Rete Ta Rimon said they had paid about $A9million ($F15.4m) for the purchase of the piece of land.

Ms Rimon has also cleared the air on claims by news agencies that the land would be used for relocation of the Kiribati people.

"The land is not being purchased for the relocation of our people and nobody is migrating to that land," she said.

"It is an investment by the Kiribati Government so that they can use the piece of land to cultivate crops for the people of Kiribati.

"We are not planning to settle people on that piece land, that is not the idea."

Ms Rimon said the people in Kiribati did not really like the idea of having to leave their island home until and unless the case has worsened and there were no other options.

"People love their country they want to stay back, however in terms of addressing the issue of climate change back home food security is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

"The effects of climate change in Kiribati have been felt by everyone as it is a low lying island nation, we do not have mountains or hills where we can be relocated too.

"Government is doing all it can to address the issue like strengthening the shoreline and protection of infrastructures because already the sea level has been rising especially during king tides where drinking water and food supply has been affected a lot."

Ms Rimon said their government was looking at ways to improve the country's resilience to the impacts of climate change.

"At this point in time the land purchased on Vanua Levu is just for the sake of addressing food security on the island.

"These crops could be transported to Kiribati but I cannot comment much on the real intention of government on the piece of land.

"This land was on the market and belongs to the Anglican Church and we had been able to purchase it."


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