11 Sep 2002

Cane growers association in Fiji call for action on evictions

10:34 am on 11 September 2002

Fiji's Cane Growers Association says it's hoping the government comes up with a solution as soon as possible for cane farmers facing eviction when their leases expire.

The association's secretary-general, Bala Dass, says 1700 leaseholders are uncertain about their future after crown land was transferred to the Native Land Trust board, the NLTB.

Mr Dass is calling for a moratorium on evictions until a solution is found and is meeting regularly with the NLTB over his concerns.

"We can see that these farmers will have no future, and if the landowners decide to have their land back indefinitely, families will have no source of income. I am talking to the NLTB on a weekly basis and we are putting pressure on the government to find a solution to the problem."

Mr Dass says he would like to see farmers resettled or compensated if evictions occur.

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