4 Aug 2005

Indigenous Fijian landowning unit renews leases for 46 sugar cane and livestock farms

10:11 am on 4 August 2005

An indigenous Fijian landowning unit in the country's west has taken the unusual step of renewing leases for its tenants and doing so without asking for lump sum payments known as goodwill.

Fiji TV reports that the landowning unit Nabuilavu near Nadarivatu has issued 46 renewed leases for sugar cane and livestock farmers.

The landowners say they don't want their land to lie idle.

Their spokesman, Moreti Nadio, has urged other landowning units in Fiji to do the same.

The tenant farmers say they are very happy their leases have been renewed for another 30 years from next year.

Some indigenous Fijian farmers among them are asking the government for help to develop their farms.

Earlier this week, Fiji's President Iloilo urged its leaders to put politics aside and urgently find solutions to the country's land lease problems, adding that since 1997 over 5-thousand agricultural leases on indigenous land had expired.