FIJI GOVERNMENT STEPS IN TO CONTROL LOGGING

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No more landowner-logging company dealing

By Theresa Ralogaivau SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 6, 2010) – There will be no more direct dealings between logging companies and landowners.

The provincial office will now take on more responsibility for protecting the interests of landowners.

Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini said he and and the provincial administrator would be involved in logging talks between companies and landowners.

Ro Aca explained to Saqani villagers recently that some landowners had been hoodwinked out of the true value of their forest resources. "You are flashed $100 bills and you give in easily to the demands from the logging company," he said.

"The resource is yours, the deals must be made on your terms.

"They come in and say they will make the road as if the road will benefit you alone, the road is necessary to their work anyway because how else will they access the logs."

Ro Aca said landowners needed to stick together and benefits derived from contracts must be discussed and agreed to by all members of the mataqali that was to carry out logging works.

"Often only one member of the mataqali is making the deals and earning an attractive return that is not shared by all," he said.

"The Roko’s office and the PA will now be involved, to facilitate discussions and any contract must be made at the Roko’s office."

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