SUVA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The Fijian government Thursday handed over Micro and Small Business Grants (MSBG) to 1,214 residents of Sigatoka, a town on Fiji's Viti Levu.
Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya said the government's vision was to ignite entrepreneurial spirit in the people, adding that they received 3,871 applications from Sigatoka and nearby areas.
Koya said through the MSBG program, 22,145 micro and small entrepreneurs have been assisted, impacting the lives of 110,725 Fijians, with government's investment of 21.4 million Fijian dollars (about 10.1 million U.S. dollars).
Koya also announced that the Fijian government will continue to implement the program under the 2018/2019 financial year with a budget of 6.4 million Fijian dollars (about 3 million U.S. dollars).
Expressing gratitude for the boost of his small Kava business, Tamani Leweni, 34, a MSBG program recipient, said he was looking at setting the standard of Kava quality in Sigatoka.
Kava is a traditional drink made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum) with water.
In Fiji, Kava is a 320 million Fijian dollars (about 151.9 million U.S. dollars) economy with domestic sales being valued at 92 percent and exports at 8 percent.
The 2015 statistics said more than 20,000 farms or 58.3 percent of farms in Fiji produced Kava.