A newly constructed foot-crossing bridge and the first Hop-Skip & Jump project to be completed was commissioned in Naseakula Village in Macuata yesterday. 500 villagers of Naseakula are expected to benefit from this first Hop-Skip & Jump foot-crossing project as it would ease and improve accessibility for the village community.

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy while commissioning the crossing reiterated the Fijian Government’s commitment to the protection and development of rural and maritime communities.

“Rural and maritime communities play a very critical role in the overall growth and development agenda of Fiji and that is where most of the critical primary economic activity such as agriculture takes place. “Therefore it is imperative that we reach out to them and provide them with the basic infrastructure that will contribute towards their development,” Minister Reddy said.

Minister Reddy stressed that initiatives such as the foot crossing program were a national priority to assist rural and outer island communities meet their basic needs, improve living standards and quality of life towards becoming self-sufficient.

He also said that service delivery would be expedited and brought to relevant communities as some requests for foot-crossings received from communities and villages had been pending for quite some time. Naseakula village elder, Jonacani Nawainaqila thanked Government for their timely assistance towards the construction of the new foot-crossing.

“We have been submitting our request for this foot-crossing for many years but nothing had been done in the past and we thought that we were forgotten, until the Ministry of Waterways stepped up to assist us,” said Mr. Nawainaqila.

“This is a very big help to villagers as the whole village faced difficulty in crossing, especially children and women, who had no choice but cross over on a piece of timber and a coconut trunk, we’re truly very grateful for this assistance which has been a long time request from our community,” he added.

The project under the Ministry of Waterways and Environment has been implemented as part of the “Hop-Skip & Jump’’ foot-crossing program which was recently announced two months ago.