10 Sep 2002

Cane Growers Association in Fiji calls for action on eviction of farmers

5:15 pm on 10 September 2002

The Cane Growers Association in Fiji is adding its voice to calls for a moratorium on the eviction of cane farmers when their land leases expire.

The association's secretary-general, Bala Dass, says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, had promised a solution by July but that hasn't happened.

He says the 1700 lease holders who are on land that has been transferred to the Native Land Trust Board, face an uncertain future.

Mr Dass says apart from the moratorium, there are other options.

"We are looking for another sort of solution, where everybody is content there. For example, if anybody here is displaced in future what we are thinking if they should be resettled, or compensated."

Last week, five families from Lautoka were evicted by knife-wielding villagers when their leases had expired.

Mr Dass says he's talking to the NLTB on a weekly basis and both organisations are putting pressure on the government to come up with a solution.