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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Fiji -EU: State launches $30m cane access road project

More than 1800 sugarcane and 6000 produce growers and their families will benefit from an EU-funded $30 million cane access road project launched by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday. The EU supported project, implemented by the Pacific Community's (SPC) rural access roads and associated infrastructure (RARAI) will be rolled out at Koronubu in Ba, Malolo in Nadi and Drasa in Lautoka. Residents living in Malolo Sector, Nadi, where work on 29 kilometres of roads began yesterday, had raised concerns about the poor state of the access-way for many years. While launching the project, Mr Bainimarama said the Government had a steadfast commitment to not just sustain the industry but to keep it growing well into the future. "We cannot do that without proper agricultural infrastructure," he said. "These new rural access roads bring that promise of connectivity here. "These roads will reduce delays and unnecessary labour and they will help ensure that as our sugarcane industry grows and remains a sustainable source of livelihood for our people, your cane will get to the mills and your crops will reach markets in Fiji and beyond." EU ambassador to the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs said the launch at Malolo by the Prime Minister was the first stage of a much larger project where 200km of roads would be rehabilitated in the cane belt area. "The improvements made will lead to greater accessibility, making it easier for farmers to bring in essential inputs and to access mills and industrial areas," he said. "We are confident the project will not only benefit sugar farmers but upstream communities and villages who use cane access roads to bring their produce to markets." Mr Jacobs said given the importance of infrastructure, the RARAI project had been allocated the largest chunk of $30m out of the $120m the EU had allocated for its accompanying measures for sugar protocol program in Fiji.

Source: www.fijitimes.com