25 Jun 2004

Indigenous landowners in Fiji want displaced tenants back

3:52 am on 25 June 2004

A report from Fiji says indigenous landowners in the country's Northern Division want their displaced tenants to come back.

The tenants were forced to leave their farms in the last few years after the landowners refused to renew leases under the policies of the previous general manager of the Native Land Trust Board, Maika Qarikau.

The Commissioner Northern, Misaele Naivalu, is quoted as saying that the landowners were not aware of what would happen when the leases expired and many of them are now regretting their decision.

Mr Naivalu says the landowners are feeling a financial crunch because they are not receiving any land rents and want the tenants to come back.

Mr Naivalu heads the Labasa Sugar Task Force which is charged with increasing cane production in Vanua Levu after years of sharp declines.

He says they will work with chiefs and religious leaders because of their influence with landowners to educate them on the benefits of leasing their land.