ONE hundred sugar cane farmers in Veisaru sector in Ba have a reason to smile this Christmas.
The farmers were given land lease renewal offer letters by Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki on Friday.
The renewals gave the farmers another 30 years to grow and harvest sugar cane.
An initiative by government, the FSC and iTaukei Land Trust Board, the new leases have given the farmers much to look forward to in the coming cane harvesting season.
While handing out the new leases for the farmers, Cdr Cawaki said the initiative came about with the collaborative efforts of the Committee for Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL).
He said the extension of the leases came at a time when cane farmers in the area were nearing the end of their leases. "This is an opportune time for the farmers and for the government to work together to improve Fiji's sugar industry.
"This is not only for the farmers it is also for Fiji's economy. The sugar industry is still an important revenue earner for the country and government remains committed to further increasing the opportunities of the industry and of the farmers."
Seventy five farmers were handed their leases while the remaining 25 will have theirs by the end of this month.
Cdr Cawaki assured those farmers, who needed their leases extended, that the government through the TLTB would be reviewing each application from the farmers.
"They should not be discouraged because each application is being processed by TLTB and they should be getting their letters on December 28."