Nov 22, 2017 Last Updated 9:11 AM, Nov 15, 2017

Green fleet

WITH the growing number of tour operators and tourism logistics companies, every passenger moved makes a difference. And sometimes the business edge comes not only in volume of traffic but by the ability to move more passengers at a fraction of the cost of the competitor.

More travelers are becoming aware of the carbon footprint they create by flying from one end of the globe to another. In this age of climate responsibility, anything a traveler can do to mitigate against climate change and global warming is a plus. Fiji-based tour company. Pacific Destinations, recently added two brand new Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid to its fleet as part of the company’s strategy to minimise its carbon footprint.

The company is looking at adding at least two more vehicles before the end of the 2017 and more during 2018. “Two vehicles may be a small number but it is a start towards their work, keeping Fiji clean and they will be adding more RAV 4 Hybrids in the coming months,” Managing Director, James Sowane explained to Island Business.

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$40m biscuit factory

From humble beginnings, FMF Foods expands

WHAT started as a flour mill in 1973, which imported premium Australian wheat and milled flour, has now become a household brand across the Pacific, venturing into other businesses, biscuits in particular. Well-known for its quality products, the company changed its name from Flour Mills of Fiji, which the FMF originated from.

With a vast range of food products, it was only appropriate to reflect this in the company name which changed to FMF Foods Limited in 2011. While the name of the company and its profile may have changed over the years, its original commitment towards customers remains unchanged, if only stronger.

This is evident in the construction of the $40million FMF Foods Ltd biscuit factory, along the Queens highway in Veisari. This investment is set to inject thousands of dollars into the economy, employ 120 directly and an equally number indirectly engaged, benefiting around 250 families when the factory is in full operation. According to the FMF Group of Companies managing director Ram Bajekal, the new biscuit factory had been constructed to manufacture biscuits largely meant for the Melanesian market.

“The need for a new factory was felt when the company realised that the existing factory at Walu Bay was not sufficient to meet the entire needs of their market,” Mr Bajekal said. Biscuit brand Raun Raun will be manufactured in the newly constructed factory alongside other brands.

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IN the aftermath of the military coups of 1987, the then interim government created a tax free zone in Kalabu, Nasinu, which helped Nasinu to grow and bridge the development between Nausori to Suva City. Suva-Nausori continues to grow tremendously.

 The same, however, cannot be said between Wainadoi and Pacific Harbour. The region has land and labour. There is a need to develop the necessary infrastructure to attract investors to create jobs and add value to the local economy specifically and national economy generally.

With the Suva to Nausori corridor now almost full, the only other way the development from the capital city can move is towards the West. Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, a member of the Opposition, pleaded in Parliament, to declare this region a ‘tax free zone’, in the hope to improve infrastructure and connectivity, an ambitious project reflecting the desires of the people of this region.

A paramount chief in this area, Matanitobua said he had witnessed every opportunity and plans to develop Serua and Namosi. Located 17km to 60 km west of Suva City on the Southern Coast of Viti Levu, the total region covers the provinces of Serua and Namosi and a part of Rewa province known as Beqa, with a total population close to 35,000 people, 66 per cent iTaukei, four per cent minority communities and 30 per cent Fijians of Indian descent.

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City within a city

Entertainment company expands its boundaries

THINK cinema in Fiji and instantly, the name ‘Damodar’ comes to mind. For decades, the Damodar Brothers (Films) Limited has been the prime entertainment business in Fiji – but as of late, they are also one of the biggest property developers in the country.

From successfully birthing the $30million Damodar City complex, which has now become a reference point of sorts for property developers, the group is now working on its recently-acquired 21-acre land along Grantham Road in Raiwaqa .

Damodar Group chief executive Div Damodar sat with Islands Business to chat about its recent development plans in Labasa, hotel and retail plans in Suva and its trickling positive effect of the economy. “I guess with Damodar City, it was quite natural that we have to grow from there, that whole street a(Vatuwaqa) is now expanded and become the new center for leisure entertainment for Fiji I would say,” explained Damodar.

“Then we looked at the land which is down road, 4-minute walking distance, which is a 21-acre site, where we are looking to do hotel and retail development,” he said.

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The Mad Hatter Hut

IN a cluster of stores and offices along 22 Disraeli Road in Suva, stands a flamboyant little coffee house. It’s not hard to spot given its striking greenish blue exterior, with captivating colorful interior peeping from inside. Once you take a closer look, you will see large red and white mushrooms on one side of the shop window – that basically sprouts out words like magic and fantasy in your head.

On the other side is a display of cute colorful children’s clothing. By now of course, as you will enter through the main door, you will be greeted with a big bula smile. After you’re done with the popular friendly Fijian pleasantries, you will get to loosen yourself in the splash of colors and order a cup of coffee, and a cupcake if you’re not shy of calories.

Once you settle down, you will either be transported to a world of utopia where everything is hunky dory and you can ‘un-adult’ for a while, or you will realise that while the new coffee house is a “happy place”, it may not be your ‘adult’ cup of tea but you will certainly be coming by again with your 4 or 5 year-olds for a little day out. Coffee shops have become quite popular in Fiji, whether it be the likes of global franchises like Gloria Jeans, or locally owned ones like Contain Yourself.

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