Cane Farm­ers Rent Ar­rears Hit $4.9m

ITLTB’s chal­lenge are ar­rears is­sues

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA Feed­back: arieta.vakasukawaqa@ fi­jisun.com.fj

The rent ar­rears in sug­ar­cane leases stands at $ 4.9 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to iTaukei Land Trust Board deputy man­ager op­er­a­tions, re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Solomone Nata.

Mr Nata said this while tabling sub­mis­sions at the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Eco­nomic Af­fairs in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

He said one of the ma­jor chal­lenges they faced was rent ar­rears in sug­ar­cane leases.

Apart from rent ar­rears in sug­ar­cane lease, the board also faced other is­sues like low pro­duc­tiv­ity in sug­ar­cane farms, farms left idle and ab­sent ten­ants.

He said some of the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by their of­fi­cers were ex­pired land leases and ten­ants not ap­ply­ing for new leases.

“Rent ar­rears pre­clude lease re­newals; low level of pro­duc­tiv­ity in cane farms and yield rates; in­crease in NIL pro­duc­tion farms and landown­ers de­mand land for their own use,” he said. Mr Nata said fam­ily dis­putes and legal im­pli­ca­tions of ab­sent ten­ants were ma­jor prob­lems they faced. He also re­minded the com­mit­tee that all land would not be leased as they con­sid­ered the im­por­tance of a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment. “We need to look at the im­por­tance of the nat­u­ral re­sources around us,” he said. Mr Nata said some of the prob­lems that iTLTB were fac­ing had not been faced be­fore. Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika

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