Owing to a strong shared commitment to strengthening grassroot communities, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (Ministry) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, have signed a Letter of Agreement.
The Agreement reaffirms the existing working relationship to assist fisher co-operatives and associations and in the development of training modules and materials.
This partnership aims to empower co-operatives and associations to:
•           Understand processes and responsibilities of becoming a registered fisher group;
•           Build capacity on basic accounting, bookkeeping and financial management;
•           Learn various methods of fish preservation post-harvest;
•           Understand proper hygiene for fish and maintenance of equipment; and
•           Recognise the need to sustain and manage marine resources.
In highlighting the Ministry’s previous collaboration with FAO, the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya, highlighted the importance of this cooperation.
“Strategic partnership has long formed the foundation of the Fijian Government’s programmes – especially on income generating projects that focus on food security.”
“Our renewed partnership with the FAO demonstrates confidence in our programmes and we are excited to be working with them to strengthen our grassroot fisher co-operatives and associations. This gives us another opportunity to leverage our shared resources, strengths and expertise,’’ highlighted Minister Koya.
Assistant FAO Representative to Fiji, Ms Joann Young, says that FAO is looking forward to strengthening collaboration with the Fijian Government.
“Based on our past successful partnerships, we are once again delighted to work with the Ministry to strengthen the sustainability practices of our fisher folks to improve food and nutrition security," Young said.
The Acting Permanent Secretary for Fisheries, Mr. Pene Baleinabuli was also present today and shared similar views.
"For Civil Servants to help Fiji make the transition into a sustainable economy and an inclusive and progressive nation, we have to keep challenging ourselves to be ready to absorb the assistance that organisations like the FAO bring to the table,” said Acting Permanent Secretary Baleinabuli.
Fiji is one of the participating countries under FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme “Mapping and characterization of Fishers and Fish Workers Organizations in selected Pacific Island Countries”. These countries include Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Federated State of Micronesia, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tuvalu.