Northern youth group supports 4Million trees initiative

Minister of Forestry Osea Naiqamu stresses a point to the youth members last week. Picture: SUPPLIED

A 14-MEMBER youth group in the Northern Division has come out in full support of the 4Million Trees in 4 Years Initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Forestry.

The group is concerned with the drastic impact climate change has had on their crops and livestock.

Valawavere Youth Club consists of both men and women who are farmers carrying out integrated farming approach that includes livestock and crops.

Most of the members reside at Droca Settlement at Nasaroroqawa in Bua, Vanua Levu, and they mainly grow watermelon on a large scale.

Registered with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the group requested the ministry’s Manager North Walter Matalau to link them up with the Ministry of Forestry because they intended to support the 4Million Trees in 4Years Initiative.

Upon their request, Mr Matalau was able to secure two hours of the Minister of Forestry Osea Naiqamu’s time on Thursday, May 30, while he was on a tour of the Northern Division.

Mr Matalau said the group consisted of Hindu, Muslim and iTaukei youths residing in Droca Settlement.

“The Valawavere Youth Club is a very active group and since its inception in 2016, they have grown from strength to strength and they have set a pace for other youth groups not only in the Northern Division but in Fiji as a whole,” Mr Matalau said.

Valawavere youth member Amzad Ali, 29, said he was happy Mr Naiqamu took the time to visit the youth members.

“Most of us are cash crop farmers growing watermelon and long beans in large-scale and we supply to Savusavu and also to Suva,” Mr Ali said.

“Watermelon takes three months to harvest and in one harvest, I used to earn about $8000 but today we are facing a lot of challenges, especially the changing weather patterns.”

Mr Ali said what used to be fertile soil was now replaced with dry and hard soil not good enough to plant crops or even graze the livestock.

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