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FDB Recognises Enormous Task Ahead
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31 January 2012

The Fiji Development Bank appreciates the enormity of the task ahead in helping rehabilitating key infrastructure and communities as well as rehabilitating the agriculture and commercial sectors affected by the recent floods in the West, says FDB’s Chief Executive Officer, Deve Toganivalu.  

“I would like to on behalf of the FDB’s board, management and staff, offer my heartfelt condolences to those who may have lost loved ones and our sympathies for those whose businesses, homes and livelihoods may have been adversely affected as a result of the floods last week. 
 
“As a major lender to the agriculture sector, I am acutely aware of the need to provide assistance that is timely and relevant for the immediate recovery of Fiji’s agricultural sector because this is important to Fiji’s food security needs in the short term and Fiji’s economy in the medium to long term.
 
“Over the past week we have worked closely with the office of the Commissioner Western to gather firsthand data on the extent of damage in the affected areas and what kind of assistance would be best suited to help in the rehabilitation process - in accordance with the priorities set by Government. 
 
“For the future, it is the intention of FDB to ensure that we become part of the divisional administrative machinery especially in such trying times because as a statutory institution responsible for financing development in the agriculture and rural sector, we must ensure that we are responsive when it matters the most – and these are such times.” 
 
The Bank currently has a portfolio of 882 farming (including sugar) accounts valued at $9.00MM located in the Western Division. Based on preliminary reports received from the Bank’s branches, affected root crop, vegetable and sugar cane farms need assistance for clearing and land preparation, planting materials and agro inputs such as fertilisers. 
 
“The Bank is also aware that needs of livestock farmers are replacement of lost livestock, repairs to fencing, rehabilitation of pastureland and replenishment of stock feed that may have been lost in the flood,” Mr. Toganivalu said. 

“The Fisheries department reports, minimal loss and damage to its aquaculture farms, fishing boats and equipment for the division which is good news because this means that this sector has the best chance of earliest recovery whereas the sugar sector is looking at an investment of about $4.00MM alone to rehabilitate the affected cane farms in the West.” 

FDB is currently offering the Reserve Bank of Fiji’s (RBF’s) Flood Rehabilitation Facility (FRF) to affected farmers with immediate priority assistance focused on applications from the affected located in areas designated as a State of Natural Disaster. 
 
“The timing of the flood could not have been worse. Coming in the wake of Christmas and New Year festivities and right before the start of the school year, it is a time when many families are already strapped for cash,” Mr. Toganivalu said. 
 
In the meantime, clients of FDB affected by the flood can contact their Branch Manager or respective portfolio Relationship & Sales in the branches and make arrangements to discuss several account options which include:
 
a.     Rescheduling of repayments on loans;
 
b.    Freezing of interest payment;
 
c.     Interest-free repayment; and/or
 
d.     An additional loan under the FRF with consideration to
 
(a) - (c).
 
“We are aware that businesses with turnovers of less than $50,000 are extremely vulnerable to such conditions and we wanted to ensure that any additional financing package does not become an
unnecessary financial burden which is why we have also included the options outlined in (a) to (d),” Mr. Toganivalu. 
 
“With more rain and flooding of low lying areas forecasted for the next few days, we can only hope that any damage to homes, farms, businesses and communities are minimal.”
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