Prison's commercial footing in the west
28 September, 2010
The new Pawpaw plantation site at Natabua, Lautoka.
The Fiji Prisons and Corrections Service last week with the kind assistance from British American Tobacco Fiji (BAT Fiji) have finally set its commercial footing in the Western Division.
FPCS Public Relations Office Fred Elbourne said the commercial footing was finally realized with the assistance provided around
technical support from BAT Fiji leaf division in Nadi.
“This is after months of intensive planning between, the FPCS, BAT Fiji and the Ministry of Lands.
“We are thankful to the Ministry of Lands for the granting us lease for the use of 10 acres of land in Natabua.
“Also for British American Tobacco for testing the soil, land preparation, mapping out a cropping plan and for the providing egg plant and pawpaw seedlings for our commercial venture.”
Elbourne said that so far BAT Fiji has provided 200 egg plant [Hybrid Long Purple] seedlings and currently more land is being prepared for a large scale commercial pawpaw plantation.
“Once the rest of the land is prepared than a pawpaw plantation will be established through the kind assistance with provision of over
5,000 hybrid pawpaw seedlings from British American Tobacco Fiji.
“By mid October, the first batch of pawpaw seedlings will be in the ground.”
In terms of the dry spell that is currently affecting the Western Division, Elbourne said that FPCS is not an organization that has a defeatist attitude and they have the means to overcome the water problems.
“We will not let the dry spell hinder our commercial plans as we have contingency in place to overcome the water shortage.
Elbourne said that what brought the FPCS and British American Tobacco Fiji together is the general theme of empowerment through sustainable agriculture as practiced under the Yellow Ribbon project. In the nutshell, BAT Fiji is very supportive towards the livelihood of rural communities and the work undertaken by the Prisons Dept fits very well with BAT Fiji Corporate Social investment portfolio.
“British American Tobacco officials told us that they are extremely pleased to partner with FPCS in support of sustainable livelihood being advocated with the prisoners, thus alleviation of poverty, economic prosperity, social well being and productive utilization of arable land.”
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