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Department clears the air on inaccurate details

Monika Singh
Friday, February 02, 2018

A COOPERATIVE from Vanua Levu that registered 49 years ago, has been given about 90 acres of land to assist the group.

Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative Ltd registered on September 9, 1969, with the objective to buy freehold land from Sir Vijay R. Singh and have it subdivided among its members.

The minimum requirement to form a co-operative is 10 and no co-operative is registered with members less than 10. Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative Ltd has a membership of 39.

Acting director and registrar of co-operatives Ramesh Chand presented the facts to this newspaper in reaction to an article that was published in the Business section of this newspaper on January 23 of this year.

This article is a correction of the article that was published on the abovementioned date.

The article incorrectly named the cooperative as Narhari Co-operative, registered more than five years ago with six to 10 members.

However Mr Chand said the contents of the article were inaccurate and presented the facts of the talanoa session that the article talked about.

Presented below are the inaccuracies of the article and the facts as presented by Mr Chand.

Forming a co-operative :

Reported: "They have informed us to form co-operative with a total of six to ten members."

Fact: The Government did not advise them to form a Co-operative. They themselves formed a co-operative 49 years ago.

Reason to form the co-operative:

Reported As: "To basically receive some government assistance on their farm."

Fact: Registered to have the freehold land subdivided among the members of the co-operative.

Not received any assistance:

Reported: "As far as our co-operative is concern we have not received any Government assistance."

Fact: Since the co-operative was formally registered, it has received assistance in various ways; Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative Ltd has given its land of around 90 acres where the irrigation pond is located. The Government has constructed the irrigation for the betterment of the member rice farmers.

The co-operative members who are mostly rice farmers have received assistance towards rice farming.

Rice farming implements have been provided by the government and the assistance continues to be provided.

Some members of the co-operative have accessed grant funds under the Governments Northern Development Projects.

Some of the members have individually accessed the MSB grants and many have applied this year. Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative has been assisted by the government in upgrading the farm roads.

The Government's Department of Co-operative has continued to provide assistance and guidance to the co-operative and through which 90 per cent of the land has been subdivided and the members own the freehold land titles.

Minister's assurance:

Reported: "Minister reassured farmers to form a co-operative as Government's assistance are only given to members of co-operatives."

Fact: The minister never mentioned the government assistance was ONLY given to members of the co-operative.

The minister in his address encouraged the members of the defunct Vanua Levu Rice Farmer's Co-operative Ltd (a second co-operative in the area) which was registered in 2003 to reorganise themselves and revive the co-operative so that they could apply for government assistance similar to what the co-operatives in the cane farming areas were doing.

The real issues that were brought to the talanoa session by Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative Ltd:

* Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative Ltd has completed all its survey works except a portion of 115 acres for which the survey works has been pending for long. The co-operative had engaged a private surveyor to complete the survey, given that it has been more than 15 years and work still hasn't been completed by the surveyor.

* The president of Naririleka Land Purchase Co-operative Ltd requested the minister to look into the concern and assist where possible.

* The minister assured that he, through Ministry of Lands, will look into the matter and if the surveyor was not performing his duty than he would be dealt with.

* A meeting between the board members of Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative and Ministry of Lands officials was orgainsed recently.

* The second issue for Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative was that the co-operative did not have the copy of the lease agreement on the land where the pond was located.

* The minister requested Ministry of Lands to see if there was any leasing agreement and to provide a copy to the co-operative.

* A co-operative member informed the minister that he had not received his title for which the survey works was completed.

* The minister advised the Nairirileka Land Purchase Co-operative official to see that the member get his title as soon as possible.

This was some between the member and the co-operative.

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