FIJI NEWS

Tui Macuata talks on leases

By JOELENE TUIMOALA The Tui Macuata, Ratu Aisea Katonivere felt for the farmers as he presented submissions to the Constitution Commission yesterday at the Labasa Civic Centre. Ratu Aisea raised
04 Oct 2012 10:07

By JOELENE TUIMOALA

The Tui Macuata, Ratu Aisea Katonivere felt for the farmers as he presented submissions to the Constitution Commission yesterday at the Labasa Civic Centre.
Ratu Aisea raised the issue of expiring land leases and the plight of displaced farmers who, according to him “are second, third or even fourth generation farmers who have tilled the land and supplied cane for our industry”.
In his submission he requested that legislation be drawn up to adequately cater for families who have contributed to community development. This could be done by renewing their land leases.
“I request that the legislation that covers land leases be dealt with on a case by case basis, whereby records of the community contribution of individual farmers and or their families are evaluated and acknowledged. What better way to acknowledge them by renewing their leases and to allow them to do what they do best. Otherwise, large patches of land that used to be very productive would lie idle, not because there are no farmers but because our legislation does not allow the farmers to have access to that land after the expiry of leases,” Ratu Aisea said.
He likened the treatment of these farmers to “setting up burglar bars that will never allow any intruder into the house, however if there is a fire the owner will burn inside because there is no provision for the reverse scenario.
“Let the legislation on land use and land lease be such that it is coined in such a way as to create an enabling environment for land use and development.”
He dwelled long on his province’s struggles as a result of land leases that were not renewed.




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