ADB funded roads in Fiji helping to revive their rural economy
The Fiji road network is being repaired and upgraded to improve mobility, safety, and climate change resilience.
ADB is helping to finance work that is boosting trade, tourism, and education.
Apisai Ketenilagi of the Fiji Road Authority said: “This road, the King’s Road, was hardly serviced by cars, small cars and taxis because of the previous condition of the road. That has been improved. The cars reach up to the villages right here now, even the taxis from Korovou to here and the taxis from Rakaraki to here.
“They travel by car and taxis because of the improvements in the road. As well as the travel time. Travel time has been reduced dramatically.”
Better roads are stimulating rural economic growth.
Apasai continued: “To the local roads, you can see along the roadside because the increase n road users, the increase in traffic, because a lot o traffic have decided to go this way rather then go around the Queens Road, because it is much faster.
“So it has promoted a lot of activities along the corridor in terms of economic activities by the locals they sell their produce to markets You can see a lot of produce being sold alongside the road.”
Business conditions have improved, benefiting dairy and vegetable farmers.
Kashmir Singh, Dairy Farmer in Korovou, Tailevu, said: “Before the road was a gravel road and we had a lot of dust. The hygiene of the milk, fresh milk, has improved. We have also cut costs on the transportation of cattle and milk away from the farm. We have very low maintenance costs now. We have been making some good profits after the road has been completed. We have good price for good quality milk and access to market is quite easy.”
The Asian Development Bank has also been helping Fiji improve road maintenance practices.
Apisai commented: “If you look at the past we spent a lot of money maintaining unsealed roads. When it is sealed, you know, the road one of the enemy is water, water penetrates through the road pavement. But in this case, when we seal the road we are protecting the pavement from access by water into the pavement. So that’s an area where the maintenance is actually improving.”
Better roads have brought new life to some of Fiji’s remote communities.
Ravuama Koboleka, resident of Nasautoka Village, said: “With the road before, We used the river for main transporting. They take goods, cassava, dalo to the market for moneywise. When the road was here, we used the bus, carriers, and taxis to take it to the market for moneywise. When the road was here, helping villagers taking children to school and helping to the market. “