2 Sep 2002

Fiji farmers threaten NLTB with legal action over compensation demand

4:32 pm on 2 September 2002

Fiji's National Farmers Union is threatening to take the Native Lands Trust Board to court for demanding compensation from outgoing tenants of expiring leases.

The NLTB has written to outgoing tenants demanding a minimum of 4-thousand-700 US dollars for deterioration to the land during their occupancy.

It says the amount is likely to rise after NLTB officers visit the farms and inspect them for damage.

The NLTB has also warned farmers not to dismantle or remove their houses, or the amount of damage would rise.

The general secretary of the National Farmers Union and Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the NLTB's new policy is sheer extortion and blackmail, and completely illegal.

He says the union has advised the farmers to challenge the demand in court.