Chiefs, People Unite to Make Use of Land
Ratu Viliame Katonivere was recently installed as Tui Macuata, succeeding his elder brother Ratu Aisea who drowned in an fishing accident. The succession has been contested by Coup 4.5, purportedly on traditional grounds but more likely because both brothers have welcomed Bainimarama Government initiatives in the province. Ratu Viliame's proposals for land development must be welcomed by all who wish to see ordinary Fijians and the nation getting better returns from the land. -- Ed.
By Serafina Silaitoga, The Fiji Times. Friday, June 28, 2013
MACUATA paramount chief Ratu Wiliame Katonivere will work with his chiefs and people to turn idle land into income-generating assets.
"We will introduce and emphasise the solesolevaki lifestyle that is commonly used by the indigenous communities through which villagers help each other. They will have different days to work on different farms instead of the villagers working on their own farms," he said.
"Solesolevaki brings people together and will result in all villagers working on one farm today and another tomorrow, so it increases production and speeds up farm work.
"This is one way of supporting the sugar industry and with Macuata being the major sugar producer province in the North, it is important that we move into this program of solesolevaki."
Ratu Wiliame said whether the idle land is used for cane farms, rice or other income revenue projects, it was important the land be made use of because the villagers would benefit.
"The benefits and income of these farming projects will go back to the landowners and the villagers.
"Landowners are indigenous people, so we will work with them and the traditional leaders to ensure we use idle land.
"That is all part of my plan — we can make use of some idle land by turning it into cane farms."
FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan applauded Ratu Wiliame's plans describing him as a motivator.