Report by: Christopher Chand
The government believes land issues are no longer a problem facing the sugar industry with a 77 percent increase in lease renewals.
Permanent Secretary for Sugar Manasa Vaniqi says this is a significant increase in lease renewals when compared to 47 percent in 1997.
Vaniqi says the surge in lease renewals is due to the government’s role in giving land owners a better rental.
He says the expiring ALTA leases were one of the contributing factors towards the sugar industry’s declining production level.
The Permanent Secretary says previously landowners were of the view that they were not being paid enough.
Vaniqi says landowners could charge between 2 percent to 6 percent of the unimproved capital value and to entice them they increased it to 10 percent and subsidized the increase for five years but has now been extended to 2015.
He was speaking at the 43rd Council Session of the International Sugar Organization in Nadi.