The Minister for Rural Development in Fiji has warned that the country needs to address the needs of rural areas if it wants to flourish.
Inia Seruiratu has told parliament more than 40 percent of the population live in rural and remote areas.
Mr Seruiratu said it was his priority to entice more Fijians back into villages and rural settlements.
He said his ministry had invested around $30 million US into rural communities over the past four years.
He referred to a quote from Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi to capture the importance of his work.
"Mahatma Gandhi said, and I quote, 'today we are standing on a dwindling cliff where the soul of our country is in distress and losing the significance of its existence', unquote. He was referring to Indian villages which were becoming dilapidated as a result of migration of the masses from the rural to urban centres."
Inia Seruiratu said while development was high on the priority list, there were also considerations like climate change which needed to be considered.