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Fiji Time: 11:30 AM on Wednesday 17 September

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Right-size progress

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, July 12, 2014

RIGHT-SIZING is the way forward for Fiji and the Pacific, says United Nations Population Fund Pacific director Dr Laurent Zessler as World Population Day was observed yesterday.

He said Fiji's population growth was reasonable and the nation was in the process of right-sizing, which basically meant having proper family planning.

Fiji's population according to UNFPA is 847,586, of which 148,137 are between the ages of 15 and 24.

"Rightsizing fits better to the Pacific spirit," Dr Zessler said.

"Fiji is progressing very well on the right-sizing of the family compared to countries like Kiribati, Vanuatu where the size of the family is too large.

"In Fiji, we have seen the downsizing of the family.

"How can you be more responsible? It's by planning the size of your family, it's through contraception and it should involve young men and young women. We have seen a bit more pragmatic approach."

Dr Zessler said it was ideal for families in Fiji to have two to three children.

"Two to three children, that allows for good population growth, which is reasonable and in accordance to the economic growth of the country.

"When you go beyond three, fortunately you can, the Government of Fiji has invested into education and access to education in a very positive way, now how do you manage to put four children into higher education.

"This actually is a contrast between the rural and the urban sector.

"In the rural, you have more farmers who feel that they have to have more children to help with the farming.

"You know I think for Fiji, the size of the land is limited."