SUNBIZ

Landowners Paid $60m For Productive Land

“The journey for the lease renewals for the 66 farm­ers were not smooth sailing and has been a challenge and have taken quite some time."
31 Aug 2019 15:49
Landowners Paid $60m For Productive Land
Savita Devi (right) of Nawaicoba receiving her lease from the Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karan (left). Photo: Charles Chambers

Landowners whose leases have been pro­ductive have been paid $60 million in rent subsidy payments from 2008 till June this year.

This was revealed yester­day by the deputy general manager of the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) Solomone Nata during the handing over of 66 regis­tered leases to cane farmers in Nawaicoba in Nadi.

Mr Nata said the total amount paid was 10 per cent of Unimproved Capital Value for these leases.

“The occasion brings much hope, security of ten­ure to our tenants and eq­uitable return to the land­owners for the use of their land,” he said.

MOU signing TLTB and Sugar Cane Growers Fund

A Memorandum of Un­derstanding was signed between the TLTB and the Sugar Cane Growers Fund as an instrument to reaf­firm their commitments and support for each other.

This is to provide better services and delivery to the tenants and farmers.

He added the event was another testimony of the importance of the sugar industry to our local com­munities and the national economy.

“The journey for the lease renewals for the 66 farm­ers were not smooth sailing and has been a challenge and have taken quite some time.

“The main one was the re­quirement by the Registrar of Titles that the survey plans need to be resurveyed to change the survey refer­ence from deposited plan to survey office.

“The land was Crown Schedule A and was revert­ed to iTaukei land.

“TLTB in the end has to fork out the cost of survey totalling $84,155.75 so to pro­ceed with the survey.

“It took some time to com­plete the surveys and the survey plans registered in 2018.

“When the survey was in process, TLTB in agree­ment with farmers, issued Instruments of Tenancies in the interim, to provide security of tenure and also for collateral purposes with SCGF.

“In consultation with the landowners TLTB, issued 50 years lease terms from the 30 years initially agreed.

“In doing these TLTB in agreement with the Sugar Cane Growers Fund and farmers, agreed to reduce surrender fee, transfer fees or even waive some costs to lighten the burden on farm­ers.”

Mr Nata thanked the land­owners, the Yavusa Lewei­vunaniu of Yako village for their goodwill, faith and trust to support lease re­newals. The landowners re­ceived over $500,000 as new lease consideration.

“TLTB remains commit­ted to support the sugar in­dustry in the facilitation of land and lease renewals.

“We look forward to work in partnership with SCGF, all stakeholders and the landowners to sustain the sugar supply to the mills that will generate many socio – economic benefits to the tenants, landowners and our communities.”

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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