26 Oct 2005

Land dispute threatens successful Fiji water company

11:17 am on 26 October 2005

An indigenous landowning unity has threatened to close down the operations of the Fiji Natural Water Company unless the government and the Native Lands Trust Board sort out the dispute surrounding ownership of the site.

The spokesman for the Raviravi landowning unit, Eseroma Tuibua, has told the Fiji Sun that the people are tired of the state's procrastination in declaring the ownership of the land.

Mr Tuibua says they are laying claim to the land on which the famed bottling plant is built on the basis that it belonged to their ancestors.

He says they were never consulted when the bottling plant was built and have never received anything in royalty from the company which is making millions of dollars in profit.

Clever marketing has led Fiji Water to rise rapidly in world ranking and last year it became the third largest selling natural water in the United States.