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FIJI TIMES Luke Rawalai Thursday, March 14, 2013
PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday opened a new ice plant for the people of Rabi, a joint venture between government and the Overseas Fishery Co-operation Agency of Japan, which provided $140,000 for the ice machine.
"Government has contributed $120,000 for its transportation, installation, and maintenance," said Commodore Bainimarama.
"The new Rabi facility will become the 19th fisheries station in Fiji with an ice plant, a vitally important piece of equipment, as any commercial fisherman will tell you."
"Without it, those working in the industry — a vital one for Fiji — simply aren't able to keep their catch fresh long enough to bring it to market," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama said that as things stood, any person on Rabi who wanted to fish commercially had to travel as far as Savusavu for ice.
"This new machine, therefore, will drastically reduce travel times and the cost of doing business and give fishermen on Rabi a better chance to make a decent living from their trade.
"It will affect how they fish, where they fish, and how they conduct their business. Simply put, it allows them time to deliver high quality, fresh fish to market."
Rabi Council of Leaders director Marlie Rota commended the project on the island where the majority of the islanders were natural fishermen and familiar with the sea as a source of income.
"Before people used to spend more than $400 to buy six bags of ice from Savusavu which was not enough to keep their fish supplies fresh," said Mrs Rota.
"As a council we had seen this problem and identified it as something that needed to be addressed as it directly affected the islanders' source of income. We chose Nuku to be the location of the new plant as it had the required water and power supply," she said