NATION

Roadblock Riles Togobula Farmers

Sixteen sugarcane farmers at Togobula, Lomawai, Nadroga, are crying foul over a cane access road being blocked by one individual. In a meeting with the Permanent Secretary for Sugar, Manasa
17 Oct 2014 09:01
Roadblock Riles Togobula Farmers

Sixteen sugarcane farmers at Togobula, Lomawai, Nadroga, are crying foul over a cane access road being blocked by one individual.

In a meeting with the Permanent Secretary for Sugar, Manasa Vaniqi, on Wednesday at the Togobula cane area, the concerned farmers told him that an Australian-based man had leased a piece of native land and had successfully sought a court order to block the cane access road going through his property.

The actions of this lone individual have affected the lives of 30 families living in villages near the area. Mr Vaniqi confirmed to the Fiji Sun of his meeting with the farmers.  He said the farmers have been using the cane access for the past years and had helped them financially.

He said the blocked cane access road at Togobula breaches the Sugar Master Award. The farmers were not informed of the action taken by the new landowner.

He said the new landowner had worked independently and had made no consultation about his plan to block the access road.

While the new tenant’s actions maybe legally correct in some way, Mr Vaniqi said he should have also considered the welfare of the people living within the area.

The next cane loading zone, according to Mr Vaniqi, will be a finacial burden to farmers because they would have to fork out an extra $7.

Since the land in question is a native lease, the farmers are also seeking assistance from the iTaukei Land Trust Board.

When contacted yesterday the TLTB general manager, Alipate Qetaki, said there was a subsisting access dispute which has been the subject of a legal action in the High Court at Lautoka.

He confirmed the TLTB had sent a Senior Estate Officer yesterday to the area to find out more about the nature and other details of the cane and had a discussion with those involved.

He said TLTB would not comment on other issues.

Feedback: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 


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