15 Feb 2006

Fiji Native Lands Board imposes new conditions on farm lease renewals

11:28 am on 15 February 2006

A report from Fiji says new lease conditions imposed by the Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB) will make it all but impossible for farmers to renew their leases.

The FIJI SUN says the NLTB's Labasa branch is now insisting that farmers must produce their birth certificate, medical report, bank statement and a police clearance when applying to renew leases.

The NLTB's Labasa Branch manager, Joreti Dakuwaqa, has confirmed the Board has introduced the new system, especially for those who want to renew leases.

Mr Dakuwaqa says the NLTB will not approve an application from any person who fails to produce the required documents, including the medical tests and criminal records.

The spokesperson for the Fijian Political Party, Ema Druavesi, says the NLTB has gone beyond its limits.

The leader of the National Alliance Party, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has condemned the new system while the Fiji Labour Party has described it as ridiculous.

Labour spokesman Lekh Ram Vyashnoi says the move would deny most applicants a chance to earn a living from the land.