MINISTER ENCOURAGES VILLAGES TO INVEST IN SANDALWOOD

The Minister for Forestry Osea Naiqamu was walking the talk on yesterday during his visit to Nabulini and Nasautoka villages in Wainibuka in the province of Tailevu by planting sandalwood, much to the excitement of the villagers.

The tour is part of Government’s aim to plant 4 million trees in 4 years which began in the western division in January.

Given its lucrative value, Minister Naiqamu encouraged the men and women of Wainibuka to plant sandalwood on their vacant land as it is considered as one of the best investment for their children and grandchildren.

“Most of us find it hard to save money because of our financial commitments. However I am encouraging you to invest in planting sandalwood for the benefit of your children and grandchildren,” Minister Naiqamu said.

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The Minister was asked during the Talanoa session at Nasautoka village if the Ministry of Forestry can provide training on sandalwood planting of which he enthusiastically answered.

“We have officers who can come and conduct training on sandalwood planting. You can make arrangement with our officers in the Central Division who are willing to help you,” Minister Naiqamu said.

The Minister for Forestry reminded the villages of Wainibuka that Government will not lease their land because the sandalwood they plant belongs to them.

He cautioned them if they want to plant sandalwood on mataqali land they should seek the consent of 60 percent of the mataqali members or landowning unit.

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“It is vital to have a written agreement on who will share in the income gain during harvesting in order to avoid differences within the mataqali in the future.”