The Fiji Development Bank, along with 12 other government agencies signed a historical Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 26 farmers in the province of Nadroga under the Tilivalevu Beef Scheme.

The MOU marks a generous step towards the revitalisation of a once vibrant industry in Fiji. The beef scheme reached its peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s. While Fiji is self-sufficient in the lower grade beef, much of the high-quality cuts used by the hotel industry are imported. In 2011, local production of beef was 1761 tonnes and 1206 tonnes valued at $7 million were imported from Australia and New Zealand. The country’s beef production in 1987 was 3762 tonnes which would have exceeded the total demand of beef for 2011.

“This MOU is the foundation of greater things to come. FDB is the key financier for this scheme and we are proud to be a part of a project with benefits as far-reaching as this. At its core, this project enables villages to turn their natural resources into a source of income,” FDB General Manager Human Resources Mr. Uraia Rasake, who signed on behalf of the bank, said.

“Project development finance is a rudimentary core function of the Fiji Development Bank. We acknowledge the support of the 12 other government agencies who have been working in partnership with us from the initial stages. The successful signing of the MOU today is a testimony to this co-operation.”

The inclusion of the multiple stakeholders ensures that development is carried out at every level in the project; that includes the development of the roads, provision of farming implements, clearing of land, timely processing of leases, assistance to farmer’s wives with alternative livelihood projects and the purchase of the cattle.

The ratification of the MOU was officiated by the outgoing Commissioner Western, Commander Joeli Cawaki.

Other government agencies that are under the MOU include I-Taukei Land Trust Board, Fiji Roads Authority, Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Cooperatives, Department of Forestry, Fiji Meats Industry Board, Agro Marketing, Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Council, Fisheries Department and the Rural Water Department.