US gives $733k for food security

Picture: FILE

Two rural communities in Ra will directly benefit from a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant of $F733,000 awarded to the University of Fiji to support food security and develop alternative sustainable livelihoods for villagers.

The grant, handed over to the institution by USAID Pacific Islands acting senior development advisor Patrick Bowers in Lautoka yesterday, would benefit villagers of Vitawa and Mallau in Rakiraki.

“The US Government supports local initiatives such as this that will allow communities to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Bowers said.

“We remain committed to assisting the most vulnerable members of all communities in Fiji to ensure everyone has equal access to services during the pandemic and future emergencies.”

University of Fiji acting vice-chancellor Shaista Shameem said this funding would be very useful in enabling these communities recover from the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and would have a specific focus on assisting women.

“We see this support bringing a whole new avenue of food security and income to the selected communities and eventually other parts of Fiji,” she said.

Through the USAID’s five-year grant facility, the Pacific American Fund, this award would enable the University of Fiji to revive the aquaculture production of tilapia in Vitawa and Mallau and provide support through aquaculture and entrepreneurial trainings for targeted beneficiaries.

To date, the US Government, through USAID, has provided nearly $US44 million ($F92m) to assist Pacific Islands countries, including Fiji, to combat COVID-19 and protect the health and livelihoods of communities in the region.

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