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- By Neha Khatri
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ONE Fiji’s biggest supermarket chains have spearheaded efforts in promoting the use of reusable bags in their outlets.
RB Patel Group has purchased more than 5000 reusable shopping bags for $13,900 from the Ba Women’s Forum, enabled through an ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.
These reusable bags will be sold in several RB Patel outlets nationwide, further reducing the reliance on plastic bags which pose environmental and marine life threats.
The initiative was launched yesterday by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, coinciding with the a new 10 cents levy on plastic bag, an unprecedented measure to protect our natural environment from pollution.
“Today, we are celebrating the work of the Ba Women’s Forum to produce 5000 reusable shopping bags to give the Fijian people an alternative to using plastic bags.
“And I’d like to thank the forum members and all of our women entrepreneurs for showing us how green initiatives and women’s empowerment can go hand in hand.
“Through our Ministry of Women, we will be working alongside women’s groups to produce more reusable shopping bags throughout the country.”
Mr Bainimarama said more efforts would also be placed in helping hardworking women take advantage of the new market opportunity created through the levy on plastic bags.
He also acknowledged RB Patel for agreeing to promote the use of these new reusable bags in their outlets.
“I encourage every business house in Fiji to step up and do the same,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“With this new initiative, we are putting Fijian women on the front-lines of our effort to protect our environment and maintain the beauty and natural splendour of Fiji for the next generation.”
In a press conference yesterday, RB Patel Group chief operating officer Deepak Rathod said they were proud to be the first to launch a groundbreaking initiative.
“I’m quite sure that this will take effect quite quickly and the people of Fiji should follow suit with protecting the environment. We are glad to help with the initiative,” he said.
Ba Women’s Forum president Dr Maria Doton said the initiative was significant as it also motivated the forum which consists of 64 women clubs with more than 800 rural women.
“This is the first big project that we have undertaken, and of course through the support of the Ministry of Women,” she said.
“Through these bags, we hope to also reach that peak point where our members are encouraged to perform and are also to encourage to see the value of their work in contributing to the mother earth.
“Being women, we know our responsibilities as stewards of this earth and the creation that is given to us is vast and aside from that the money that is earned will benefit the women and their families.”
The forum is also the process of advancing their bags into insulated bags for frozen goods and gauging more orders from retailers.
Edited by Filipe Naigulevu
Source: The Fiji Times