8 May 2002

Fiji Chiefs to debate harvest of mahogany plantations

10:33 am on 8 May 2002

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs begins a three day meeting in Suva today to consider proposals to harvest mahogany plantations on indigenous lands.

The vast plantations, the world's larghest stand of mahogany, are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars

The Chairman of the Council, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says the mahogany proposals are expected to take up much of the discussions with a decision likely by Friday.

The Qarase government's 20 year development plan for indigenous Fijian development is also on the agenda after being circulated to indigenous provinces for their views.

But the key issue today is the appointment of the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs.

Ratu Epeli's term expires today but he says he will be happy to carry on if re-appointed.

The Fiji Times says Ratu Epeli is expected to face a strong challenge from his deputu and Bau high chief Adi Litia Cakobau