The Fijian government’s objective in alleviating poverty in the country can be further addressed if women are empowered to operate formal and informal businesses through learning, says the Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni.
She made the comment while paying tribute to the work undertaken by rural women around the country at the 2012 International Rural Women’s Day Celebrations yesterday in Suva.
“Fiji, together with rest of the world, salutes our rural women who are toiling unrecognised in the background of every home and villages, settlement and communities in our nation ensuring food security for their families, directing their earnings to family needs and becoming the key to ending hunger and poverty. Yet their vital contribution to society goes largely unnoticed”, she told the participants.
Women from rural communities across the country, converged at the Suva Civic centre to display those products that have become a source of income for them. These included handicrafts, mats, and even products from bee farming.
“While our Ministry is working closely with the rural women to encourage them into small income generating projects, our challenge is that our domestic market is limited given the limited consumers available to them in their communities”, Dr Luveni said.
“To make a difference in our economy, we need to look at international markets. In this respect, we have a project to construct women’s resource centers where women could work cooperatively to enable better quality control of products and ensure consistency of supplies”.
She thanked the Government of Indonesia through their Embassy in Suva for working with the Fijian government to address rural women empowerment in the country.
“Right now, we are focusing on perfecting quality of the product of their choice and we are grateful to the Embassy of Indonesia for providing technical trainers who are assisting our women in this regard”.
By Reginald Chandar