18 Jul 2006

Fiji cabinet subcommittee to try and solve land lease problems

3:32 pm on 18 July 2006

Fiji's multi-party government has agreed to set up a cabinet subcommittee to try and solve the country's long standing agricultural lease problems on indigenous owned land.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has told Radio Legend that the subcommittee will analyse the problem and hold discussions with relevant stakeholders like the Native Lands Trust Board and the ministry of Fijian affairs.

Mr Qarase, who will chair the subcommittee, says consultations will be held with the Fiji Labour Party as well.

The senior FLP minister in the multi-party government, Krishna Datt, has welcomed the move, saying they had almost reached a resolution on land leases in the "talanoa" subcommittee on land in the term of the last government.

Mr Datt says it is time for the leaders to step forward and take responsibility as the time for complaining is over.

Mr Datt is confident that solutions can be found.

Over 6-thousand farm leases on indigenous land have expired in the last six years with most of the farmers becoming peri-urban squatters and the farms reverting to bush.