20 August, 2014, 12:00 am
CONCERNS have been raised on the declining population of rural communities.
Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Swani Maharaj said this was a serious issue that government should address.
“The decrease of rural population leads to the increase of squatter settlements outside urban centres,” he said.
“The initiative undertaken by government with the Fiji National University to encourage commercial farming needs to be taken a step further to ensure that the population in rural areas creates a balance to ensure that growth also takes place in rural communities.
“A country needs to produce something because if it does not produce for itself and for export purposes then it’s not in competition and it will not be able to survive.”
Acting Commissioner Western Luke Moroivalu said rural development was already taking place in the Western Division.
He said the developments in Nukuloa, Ba, had already started to bear positive results.
“Those in Nukuloa now have a school, a health centre and electricity supply and just this year, they received water supply from the Water Authority of Fiji.
“And because of these developments, 17 farmers that migrated overseas have returned to Nukuloa.
“They have repurchased their old farms and are cultivating their farms.”