Launch of Khana Kakana Cook Book

Venue: FNU School of Food and Beverages

Date: 6th November 2014


Development Partners,

Representatives of the various Civil Societies,

Representatives of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Hundreds of Fijians are dying today from a disease—-hundreds are dying or falling sick because of their own poor choices.

Hundreds of Fijians are falling sick and indeed dying right now because of NCDS.

We are losing the battle against non-communicable diseases. It is very likely that every person here has already experienced the sickness or even death of a family member from NCDs.

I said earlier that we are losing the battle against NCDS..but I believe that we can make inroads on NCDS..that we can have an impact on it.

That is why I am glad to be here today, because what we launch here today is something that can help this country get back on track.

I am told that the Khana Kakana is the first of its kind, a completely Fijian guide to eating simple, healthy and affordable recipes that uses locally grown, seasonal produce.

Khana Kakana is a healthy cookbook that will give Fijians the information and inspiration they need to change their diets and get healthy.

November is NCD month…so this is just the right time to launch this booklet and to promote healthy ways of living.

NCD’s like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and lung disease are crippling our great nation. They are the biggest killers in Fiji.

We throw up our hands and we get scared when we hear about Ebola and HIV/AIDS. All these diseases are dangerous but they have a far smaller impact on this country than NCDS. Diabetes rates in Fiji and the Pacific are among the highest in the world.

We need to start shouting and getting agitated about NCDs and its effect on our people. It affects those that get sick and it affects everybody else because it affects the economy of this nation.

The problem is , that NCDs and its impacts creeps up on us. NCDS develop slowly and because of this is we do not panic when we hear of NCDS.

However, the stark reality is that 80% of deaths in Fiji are NCD related.

NCDs are having an impact on life expectancy and families are losing their loved ones earlier than expected. Our health system and our economy are struggling under the burden of NCD’s.

The most important thing however is that we are robbing ourselves of longer, healthier and happier lives and a lot of this has to do with unhealthy lifestyles and bad habits that lay the foundation for NCD’s to develop.

We Fijians love our food and we love life, you can’t have one without the other, but your enjoyment of each all depends on quality and quantity.

Right now, many is not most of our food choices are bad ones, we are turning away from the most perfect, healthy, natural and nutritious foods that grow on our islands and instead, we are eating unnatural, low quality, plastic- packaged foods that are high in chemicals like fat, sugar and salt. These foods are making us sick.

All around us, in our villages, in our backyards we have plots of land, little pieces of land that can be used to plant vegetables. This is something we can all start doing.

We have become too dependent on foods that are harmful to our health because we have changed our lifestyle from subsistence living where we grow, catch and eat our own natural foods, to relying on low quality foods that can be bought from the shops.

That is something we must change.

We, as individuals, have the power to improve our health, and to lower our risk of NCD’s with a wellness approach; eat healthy, natural foods, exercise daily, drink less alcohol and more water and stop smoking.

These simple steps are the building blocks for a healthier and happier life.

Your health is in your hands, and with this cookbook in your hands, you have everything you need to take control of your health, and your future.

The cookbook launches today on the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page, available for online viewing and download and we have several thousand hard copies to giveaway.

It holds 48 beautifully designed pages of health advice, healthy recipes, gardening tips and Fijian stories of wellness, and it is completely free.

Khana Kakana gives you the why and the how of healthy eating, so all we need now is a commitment from you to change your life for the better.

This cookbook was developed by the Ministry of Health’s Wellness Unit and would not have been possible without the generous support of our partners:

  • Red Cross Australia’s Small Grants Program and Australian Volunteers for International Development.
  • Funding support from the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program and the Fiji Health Sector Support Program.
  • We would also like to thank Fiji National University Food and Beverage school for their support of this launch and their help in preparing the delicious, healthy lunch you are about to eat!

There were many people that the team met along the road to making this cookbook, they shared recipes, and smiles and were the inspiration for this cookbook, some are also featured in these pages, we would like to thank them for their time and their inspiring stories too.

Our wish for a longer life is in our hands. And it really depends on our eating habits.

We hope this cookbook inspires you to live a beautiful and healthy life, a longer life and a life free from disease.