FIJI LIFTS MORATORIUM ON COMMERCIAL USE OF STATE LAND

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A number of queries from entrepreneurs

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive,Dec. 22, 2008) – The moratorium on commercial farming on State land is expected to be lifted by January next year.

Interim Attorney-General Aiyaz-Saiyed Khaiyum said a number of entrepreneurs eyed vast tracts of state land for commercial farming in Nadi, Lautoka and Ba.

However, these entrepreneurs were unable to use the land because leases on State lands were restricted to agricultural purposes, he said at the post Budget forum at the Holiday Inn.

"For example between the Nadi and Lautoka corridor, Lautoka-Ba corridor there are a lot of applications for commercial developments," Sayed-Khaiyum said. "So the moratorium will now be removed. You can now get into commercial and other developments, which include commercial agriculture.

"You cannot, for example, expect to pay $1000 for a 20- acre piece State land - which you had paid to have a agricultural lease and expect to pay the same amount for a commercial agricultural lease.

"In fact, you probably should be paying $1000 for an acre. So the Lands Department needs to get up to speed."

The interim AG added that the Lands Department, in certain areas, has to come up to speed in terms of commercial dealings.

"There are various valuation processes that need to be addressed before the moratorium is lifted," he added.

"It will be expedited."

Meanwhile, the department of Lands and Surveys and other key stakeholders, such as the NLTB, Ministry of Primary Industries and the Committee for the Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL), will continue to pursue reform initiatives that aim to improve access to, and utilisation of land

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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