Fiji State Land Bank Asks Landowners To Make Deposits

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Ministry says idle, unused lands needed for development

By Maciu Malo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 7, 2013) – The government is asking indigenous Fijian, or iTaukei, landowners to deposit land into the land bank because almost all of Fiji’s State lands have been leased out.

Director for Lands Mosese Tagicakibau said State land covered a small percentage of Fiji's total land mass.

"We hardly have any State land available for leasing since we only administer less than 5 percent of the country's total land mass," Mr. Tagicakibau said.

"Native land make up more than 83 percent of the land mass in Fiji while freehold land has around 9 percent," he said.

"Most of the State’s land has been leased out and the only development we currently have is the foreshore reclamation.

"In fact, this is also another reason we have set up the Land Use Department to identify all idle and unoccupied Native lands for State's use.

"That is the reason we are also investing Native lands into the land bank, to accommodate applications for Crown lease," he added.

The ministry will also face another challenge in securing 5,000 acres for the 50 agriculture scholarship students of the Fiji National University (FNU) expected to graduate at the end of the year.

As announced in last year's national budget by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, students graduating in the agriculture scholarship scheme would get a loan of FJ$70,000 [US$39,521].

Commodore Bainimarama said this would allow them to buy 100 acres of farm land, a house, a shed, a tractor and basic farm implements, fertilizer and other necessary materials plus FJ$2,000 [US$1,129] start up cash.

He said the students would learn a variety of farming skills during their one year course.

The program will be launched by Commodore Bainimarama at the FNU Koronivia campus today.

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