LAND ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS
Dialogue and Negotiations with TLTB and Department of Lands
The Council is engaged in regular meetings, consultations and negotiations with the iTaukei Lands Trust Board and the Department of Lands and Mineral Resources regarding expiry of Land leases.
The renewal of expired cane land leases is the most affected one. TLTB intend to surrender the lease three (3) to five (5) years before the actual expiry date of the lease for renewal. This is the best option that the TLTB and Lands Department can offer to enable the grower to continue cultivating cane while they renew the lease. However this once again takes a lot of time when the sitting tenant has to clear all outstanding debt or land rent arrears before it can be processed. It is further complicated when there is a change in name when relatives (son) taking over the farm.
Typical and a successful event when the SCGC start negotiating with TLTB South West division on the fate of the 72 cane growers in Nawaicoba sector whose land leases would expire in 2017. The incentive taken was to avoid drop in cane production to affected growers when approaching 2017. These growers harvest 20,000tonnes annually. With TLTB, the best option was for the farmers to surrender their leases and seek for renewal before 2017. After a joint meeting with the affected cane farmers, TLTB than approached the Land Owning Unit of Yako village, Yavusa Leweivunaniu for further discussion in regards to the expiry leases. After a month of negotiation, the 71 cane growers and the SCGC were thankful to stakeholders including the Land Owning Unit for their willingness to renew all the affected land leases before the expiry year of 2017.
Regular follow up of land issues with TLTB and Department of Lands are done almost on a daily basis.
Land Lease Expiry and Renewals
Total Registration Issued on Expired ALTA Leases as at 2006 – 2013
CBUL Task Force
Basically the Committee for Better Utilization of Land (CBUL) was formed to assist, guide and advice all parties concerned in finding means and ways of encouraging farmers to turn all unutilized land into productions. This was focused more on cane area than on non cane areas. Also negotiating with Land Owning Units, who are not so sure of how their land can be well used. The aim is to utilize available land to its maximum for everybody’s’ benefit.
Areas already being identified for cane expansion are in Burenitu and Savusavu in Ellington II sector and in Seaqaqa where the NLDC project was previously set up in 1982. These three areas have a minimum area of 3OO acres each.