‘Landscape changing’ – Government works on converting sugarcane leases to residential

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum speaks to participants during the unveiling of Fiji Development Bank sugarcane farmers special loan facility in Drasa, Lautoka on Monday. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

Government is currently working on converting some sugarcane leases to residential leases. Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced this while unveiling the Fiji Development Bank’s sugarcane farmers special loan facility in Drasa, Lautoka, on Monday.

He said most growers continued to be engaged in cane farming because of their lease condition — which they could lose if they diverted into other activities.

“So those people who are still left behind on the cane farm, they still hold on to the lease and do cane farming because otherwise they would lose their lease,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“So some of them wanted that converted to residential lease, which we’re currently working with them, so they will be getting new leases.

“Some have come to us and said we don’t want to do sugarcane farming, we want to do mixed farming. Some said we want to do some cash crops and various other products and a little bit of sugarcane farming.”

The A-G said the landscape was changing and the Government would make sure growers would be assisted so they could have certainty in terms of lease security.

“And we are here essentially to ensure that whatever you decide to do, whether you want to continue sugarcane farming, whether you want to do mixed farming, or whether you want to go to some other product, we’re here to be able to assist you.

“People have a line of production that they engaged in, that they feel passionate about and certainly that sustained livelihoods.

“They need to have a livelihood, a livelihood that they can depend on.”

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