20 Sep 2006

Fiji dairy industry depends on solving lease problems

2:14 pm on 20 September 2006

The chairman of Fiji's Rewa Dairy Limited says the survival of the country's dairy industry hinges on parties working together to end the uncertainty over land leases.

Josefa Serulagilagi says there have been big problems over the renewal of leases in Tailevu province, and if nothing is done, Fiji will lose its dairy industry.

Mr Serulagilagi says Rewa Dairy Limited has formed a committee to address the problem.

He says the committee is keen to be joined by the Native Lands Trust Board, which oversees the leases, and also the agriculture ministry.

"So that we can sit down and try and talk about this problem so that we can come up with some best solution that is probably the best solution both to the farmers and also to the landlord."

Josefa Serulagilagi.

The Native Lands Trust Board says the board is concerned about the dairy industry but it must ensure that indigenous landowners get the best returns.

It says it's considering various options including joint ventures between dairy farmers and land owners, and increasing the rent.