www.fijitimes.com - Meresini Marau Monday, November 09, 2009
Landowners in Ba Province have been urged to give their land for sugar cane to meet the annual target million tonnes.
Economist in the Prime Ministers Office Viliame Gucake made the plea to the chiefs of the province and stressed to them the industry's importance to the country.
Mr Gucake said the chiefs had a major role in ensuring all native-owned land was well utilised. He said that they could contribute a lot towards the resurrection of the industry by offering land which they were not using.
Mr Gucake said that one of the realities of our land tenure system was that land leases would one day expire.
With most leases expiring, Mr Gucake said the only way to ensure that more land was utilised for the industry was to give to tenants those portions of land the landowners did not feel like developing.
He reminded the Ba chiefs that about 200,000 people depended on the sugar industry for their livelihood.
"That is about 20 per cent of the total population of this country," he said.
Mr Gucake said the State was confident about the future of the industry.
He also informed them of industry reforms.
Mr Gucake said that one of the major reason for the reform was the drop in the sugar price.
He reminded them that Fiji no longer enjoyed preferential pricing under the Sugar Protocol. He however assured them that the Fiji Sugar Corporation had struck a deal with Tate and Lyle that would expire in 2015.