Lease, loans worry farmers

SUGARCANE farmers in Nawaicoba, Nadi, who have been promised 50-year extensions on their leases will have to wait a little longer before they actually receive it.

On Tuesday, 60 farmers from the area were given an instrument of tenancy.

Most of the farmers had surrendered their leases after it expired and were finding other means to pay off their loans with financial institutions.

“We’ve been pressing the iTaukei Lands Trust Board for a timeframe, but they say they cannot promise anything at the moment,” said Naiwaicoba rural advisory councillor Kuar Singh.

“This is really to help farmers get loans so they can work the land. Because the lease has expired they have nothing to offer financial institutions as security.

“Hopefully once we sign this, we can get registered for extensions.”

Questions sent to TLTB on the matter remain unanswered, but last week Sugar Ministry director Sanjay Kumar said they would work closely with TLTB regarding the matter.

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