Letters to the Editor 01 – September 1

Fiji Drua skipper Mosese Voka leads the charge during a training session in Suva. Picture: FT FILE/JONA KONATACI

Drua in NRC showdown
Fiji’s Delta Town will come alive today as the Fiji Airways Drua side kick-start their campaign against Melbourne Rising.
The Drua finished third on the overall points table last season with 22 points and lost to Queensland Country in the semis away from home 57-21.
In the other semis Canberra Vikings narrowly escaped the fury and onslaught of Perth Spirit winning 40-35. Thus, the two leading teams in the season, Canberra Vikings and Queensland Country, went on to play in the championship final.
The deciding match, which was played at Viking Park in Canberra, was won by the visitors 42-28. Former Labasa goalie and striker and the pride of Nadogo Filipo Daugunu starred for Queensland Country as they went on to claim their first NRC title. The Drua side has a lot to offer to the NRC.
Today the Drua’s character and fighting spirit will be tested when they play in front of their home crowd. Coach Seruvakula has named a powerful side led by tireless Namosi warhorse Mosese Voka, who will be joined by his fellow Namosi brothers Reece and Veitokani, the heavyweights from the Capital City Vugakoto, Tagi and Naulago, the power packed Stallions in Radrodro, Kurumudu, Daveta and Waqatabu, the warriors from the Highlanders camp Mawi, Seru and Lomani and our overseas based players Jo Veiteyaki, Tuisue and Waqanibau.
The Drua bench looks promising with the likes of Navuma, Ducivaki, Raidre, Vularika and Suva wing Enele.
These players featured prominently during the Skipper Cup and Farebrother Challenge and have the capacity to light Ratu Cakobau Park.
Poor discipline was the turning factor against our boys last year. Our boys also failed to capitalise on the many opportunities that they had because of lack of communication, knock-ons, forward passes and lost balls and I hope that these would be addressed before the kick-off.
The visitors, on the other hand, will bank on Ratu, Naivalu and Naisarani, who play for Melbourne Rebels.
Finally, before the showdown between the Drua and Melbourne Rising, the Fiji Legends will host the Classic Wallabies! I wish the Drua and the Legends side all the best for today’s showdown against quality opposition!
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Fire out at last
At last the fire at the Vunato dump site has been put out. Should we be thankful? It took almost 10 days to bring the fire under control. Is that good? I have been told that dump fires are hard to bring under control. Anyway, I am thankful that is has been put out.
I hope that we have learnt something for this. Our family really suffered during this time and we had to move out temporarily for the sake of our health. We moved here recently because of the Western climate only to be accosted by this dump fire.
We will not be moving out of here because we have faith that the council will be more vigilant and not let it happen ever again. At this time I thank all who were involved in putting out the fire.
Vinaka va levu.
Mere Lagilagi Lovu, Lautoka

Relief for residents
Finally, the Vunato dump fire is out thanks to the hardworking Lautoka City Council employees. After days of unrest and issues raised by the residents of Lautoka, the LCC employees worked the extra mile to combat the burning fire.
On the other hand, the Lautoka Residents and Ratepayers Association president Narayan Reddy had been continuously raising the issue alongside our new ‘Kung Fu’ master Allen and veteran writers Wise and Dan.
I am glad that The Fiji Times highlighted the issue and its health hazard and this prompted the authorities to act prudently on the matter.
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Running engines while parked
At about midday today (Tuesday 28.8) as I walked past the Nakasi Health Centre to the shop I noticed a white twin cab (I have the registration details) parked outside the health centre with the engine running.
I had walked about 50 metres down the road and realised I should go and tell the driver to turn off the engine as I had come across this vehicle on numerous occasions doing the same.
I returned and confronted the driver about why the engine was running while the vehicle was parked? His reply was “the engine is running because I turned the engine on”.
I told him that he was wasting taxpayers’ money by keeping the engine running while the vehicle was parked and that he was contributing to the effects of climate change with the fumes being pumped out of the exhaust into the environment.
His reply was “why do you care, you just mind your own business, I am waiting for an officer in the health centre”. I told him that I would write to the minister to report this and he just said, “you go ahead and report what you want to report”.
He immediately turned the engine off and jumped out of the vehicle when he saw me walk to the front of the vehicle and pretended to take the picture of the number plate from my $39 phone which had no camera.
To Rosy Akbar, the Minister for Health if you ever get to read this letter, please inform your drivers to turn the engines off on their vehicles if it is parked. Your government vehicle drivers have a habit of keeping the engines running on their vehicles while parked outside the Nakasi Health Centre.
Seru Rokosuka Nakasi Road

The godliness issue
The counsel to embrace godliness rarely appears in a public place until now, that is, on a billboard. Godliness is synonymous with a righteous manner of living and maintaining personal integrity. But there is a downside to godliness virtue. When it takes the form of smug self-righteousness. Subsequently, a self-righteous impulse can enslave anyone to hate other people. The virtue then becomes a vice. We need to keep a self-critical approach to godliness issue.
Sachida Nath Nadi

Thank you
As we do when we feel something’s amiss, we speak up, when it’s addressed, we by right should be as animated with the thank you. Having mentioned that, I wish to thank those involved for putting out the Vunato dump fire, much appreciated.
Vina valevu
Nigel Fiu Owls Perch, Lautoka

Baka trees
This is to thank the Ministry of Environment Permanent Secretary Joshua Wycliffe for his quick action with regards to the Baka trees which have long been a landmark feature of Navua.
It was painful to see the Baka trees some of which must be more than 100 years old destroyed in such brutal fashion. Thank you sir for saving the trees and for protecting the environment from further damage and destruction.
Shad Alfaz Ali Navua

Plastic levy
How about the plastic levy of 20 cents be dropped in a bin in every supermarket and shop and be diverted to the poor and needy families?
We may get some sort of blessings in that way rather than be a sinner in cursing and swearing at the ever increasing levy. Just a thought though!
Pita Soroaqali Nadarivatu

Giving up kava
My mate Cameron has given up grog for the next six months. He said he will spend this time to get into shape.
It has been a week and still no sign of him power walking or jogging.
So I’m assuming that he wants to get into a round shape.
Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

Plastic bags
If the plastic bags are banned for good then why after paying 20c it’s valid? You get it back. Something fishy here! Before it was free… now 20c. While on plastics… what about frozen items such as chicken… chocolates… ice pops? Either it’s soft or hard… plastic is plastic. Ban them all! A.

Water level
HOW is the water level at the Monasavu dam Mr Patel?
Haven’t seen you on TV!
Sukha Singh Labasa

Policy change
In the past one can get a British visa here at the British consulate. A Schenagen (European Union) visa here at the French Embassy and visa on arrival at Bangkok.
Today they send your passport to the Philippines for a British visa. One has to spend a week in Vanuatu or a couple of days in Wellington to get a Schenagen visa and your passport sent to Australia for a Bangkok visa. What has created these policy changes ?
Dan Urai Lautoka

Imported vegetables
The recent study released titled “From the farms to the tourist’s table — A study of fresh produce demand from Fiji’s hotels and resorts “ had revealed that the country spends a whopping $794 million annually on imported food including the vegetables. The report also positively stated that the spending can be reduced by $24 million by focusing resources on growing or producing the items locally.
It has identified the gap in the supply and the demand cycle that could be of great value to the nation if the sector is professionally or systemically managed through expert advice and appropriate resources provided to the farmers.
Chilly planting in the country was once a flourish business with abundant supplies in the markets with attractive prices.
That has diminished now and we rely on imports to provide for the local consumption and that sound absurd.
The chillies in Fiji can be grown all year around but for the best yield the farmers target the months from February to March to sow the seeds.
The common varieties such as Hot Rod and Red Fire for export are harvested at green mature stage while Bird’s Eye should be harvested at colour red stage.
The demand for the export of the chillies continues to grow as more people are eating chillies now and there is growing popularity of local chilli as a result of increasing number of Asian communities residing overseas apart from our local people. Most of the export countries are the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Farmers who produce chillies for the New Zealand market should register their farms under the Bilateral Quality Agreement. This is to ensure that their produce meet New Zealand quarantine and health requirements. According to the Food and Agriculture statistics Fiji which began to compile the production data of chillies in Fiji since 1993 states that our peak and the best period of growing occurred between 2006 and 2009.
It then took a drastic dip and did not recover since. I believe that this sector of agriculture lacks vision, mission and the value where the farmers can be assisted to take advantage of this cash crop.
Apart from our export quotes we do not have the ability to cater for the local consumption and recently seen in the supermarkets are the vacuum packed frozen chillies imported from the Asian countries.
There is a huge need for the chillies locally and inconsistent methods and advice given by the experts are not making any difference and has created an adverse follow of the products into the country which is hurting the local economy.
There is a great variance in the number of days taken for a particular variety to reach maturity. Some can produce ripe fruit in 60 days from sowing and others take as long as 120 days.
This industry needs to be efficient, reliable and resilient in its approach in order to adapt and align with the strategies set.
We have an excellent competitive weapon in our hands but is botched up and is not producing the desired result and allowing the overseas competitors to survive.
This risk consequences needs to be mitigated by improving the productivity aspect and pegging the variance hole through which the competition enters and hurts our agriculture sector.
Planting the chillies is not a difficult task at all as the birds do it all the time without any effort but it has to be done in a consistent and organised manner to be commercially viable.
Satish Nakched Suva


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