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Forest fires issue

Kalesi Mele
Monday, November 27, 2017

THERE is an urgent need to instil in children and youths the detrimental effects of forest fires, says Fiji Pine Ltd chairperson Faiz Khan.

Mr Khan said most landowners were ignorant of the fact that plants such as pine took more than two decades to mature and to set them on fire it was taking away benefits the future generations deserved.

He said more than 20,000 people were dependent on the pine industry in Fiji, but they were faced with challenges stemming from complacency of landowners or farmers to plant the trees after they had been cut.

"We have had issues particularly in Viti Levu where there was no planting, so we are already facing an uphill battle.

"When we do the planting and it is destroyed by fire, it is a huge thing for us so we're really feeling the heat," he said.

"The point is this. It takes about 22 years for a pine plantation to mature and if we don't look after it, whether it is through effective sustainable planting or it is through prevention of fires, there will not be a pine industry for the future generations.

"There will be nothing for the younger boys and girls and that is really the message that needs to be relayed to the public."

He added the company was working with a television company to create awareness on the issue and urged other stakeholders to begin vigorous awareness campaigns.

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