19 Jul 2006

Fiji landowners in Ba block railway line to sugar mill

9:07 am on 19 July 2006

More than one thousand tonnes of harvested sugar cane is lying rotting and drying up on the ground or on railway trucks in the Ba area in Fiji's west.

This follows action by indigenous landowners at Sorokoba who felled a mango tree across the railway line leading to Ba mill, which has halted all rail transport of cane from areas as far away as Tavua.

The landowners say the lease for the land on which the railway line runs expired in March and they want the Fiji Sugar Corporation to negotiate a new lease and pay them rental and compensation.

Cane farmers whose crop is affected by the rail block stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars as the cane harvesting and crushing season is at its peak.