TWENTY thousand coconut growers on Taveuni are expected to benefit from the government's program of revitalising the copra industry.
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony of the much-awaited Somosomo hydroelectrification project over the weekend, Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said the copra revitalisation program included the replacement of senile trees with younger ones that had higher yields.
He said Fiji was now selling virgin coconut oil to Korea at $13 per bottle, adding this was a new export industry that promised to transform the lives of many people in the North.
The program, the prime minister said, was a genuine achievement, real progress to benefit every Fijian in the North and in the case of our export industries, the economic welfare of every person in the country was expected to improve further.
Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said these were some of the developments taking place in the North under his government.
Meanwhile, Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama said the sugar industry in the North was expanding, adding that land was being reclaimed for growing cane.
His government's intention is to crush one million tonnes of sugar cane by 2020.
Under his leadership, the Prime Minister said, thousands of ordinary Fijians in the North had benefited from government training programs, others had been assisted to start their own businesses while many more had been given the opportunity to build new homes or had their cyclone-damaged homes repaired.
He added such developments were signs of his government's commitment to the welfare of the people in the North and the cornerstone of the Look North Policy.