N0281. 90% RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2015? The Fiji Electricity Authority hopes new renewable energy initiatives will help it to meet this target, that would cover a peak daily demand of 217 MW (1045 GWh per annum), by 2015.
The projects include the waste-to-energy power generators by iVITI Renewable Disenergy Power Plants, and Pacific Renewable Energy's wood-fired Lautoka plant.
FEA is also investigating wind-farm possibilities for Ovalau, and the use of bagasse from the Fiji Sugar's Rarawai Mill. There is also a proposal by a new Independent Power Producer for an 8.5 MW biomass-fired power plant for Labasa, to be phased in over five years.
N0282. SWITCHING FROM SUGAR TO POTATOES. A landowning unit (and farm co-operative) at Mataso in inland Ra province that has been farming sugar cane for 50 years is switching to potatoes and vegetable farming. They say they are cheaper to produce because of quicker maturity and they are cheaper to transport.From two hectares of land the co-operative earns between $12,000-$20,000 a year, and the money has already helped improve the lives of the villagers. They have been assisted by the Ministry of Agriculture in the new new venture and Government has provided a tractor.
N0283.N0284. WIDE CONSULTATION ON HOUSING POLICY. Fiji has a major housing problem with up to one-fifth of its population living in squatter areas and many more unable to afford present housing prices.
Work towards a resolution of the problem and the formulation of a national housing policy commenced in June 2009. A steering committee of key stakeholders was appointed and broad-based consultations were held to examine options on public and social housing. UN-Habitat assisted with advice based on its global experience and lessons learnt from international best practices.
The Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment launched the National Housing Policy earlier today. The policy is designed to provide a new strategic vision to achieve the goal of affordable housing for all. -- Based on No.0733/MOI.
N0285. MORE ACTION ON URBAN SQUATTING. A delegation from the Asia Coalition of Housing Action was in Fiji recently to discuss squatter upgrading projects with town and city special administrators as well as officials of the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development. According to the Director of Housing and Squatter Settlement, Kolinio Bola, the parties agreed "that 15 squatter upgrading programmes will be undertaken over the the next three years with a total budget of $1.2 million.”
N0286. LABOUR REFORMS. Fiji is well in advance on its labour reform programmes and is being recognised as the role model on labour reform for Pacific Island countries. Labour permanent secretary Taito Waqa said yesterday Fiji's Occupational Health and Safety reforms were recognised by the ILO which is using the Fiji's reform model in other Pacific Island countries.