Saturday, July 07, 2007
Land in Fiji
Land in Fiji
When Peceli was going from Suva to Navua a couple of weeks ago and passed Kalokolevu village he looked up the valleys and hills. They were so green and fertile, but empty of houses and development. He told me - surely this land could be used to accommodate thousands of people. The land could be subdivided and the unusued land planted in vegetables and fruit.
There is always talk about Fijian land, leases, ownership, disputes, concerns about the land-less. Also the discussion about unused land. One Interim Minister has large ideas - such as - let's invite the Indian sugarcane farmers back - those who lost their small piece of land when their leases expired. However, they have relocated elsewhere and may be doing very well. Why would they want to work at sugar again when its future is undecided?
The same Interim Minister speaks about 30,000 Fijians who are landless and 'the 'will be provided with appropriate land'. (Fiji Times report) Where from and who will pay? Hmmm. I have observed that Fijians who do not get lease money are often very hard-working because they have to be to survive!
He also said (reported in the Fiji Sun) that the Go Farm Fiji (GFF) Project is about 700 acres of unused land at Namelimeli village in Namosi to be developed by a Chinese man.
I'm a 'greenie' and I don't panic if I see a mountainside of trees or grass or bamboo. I don't really like to see whole valleys of sugar-cane when I know that this industry replaced medicine trees, fruit trees, pandanus and sometimes forests.
However when you drive around or across the islands you see so much fertile land that you can see its potential to feed even a million more people if areas are planted down in vegetables and fruit. Each place could be self-sufficient without needing to import (often) junk-food from overseas. There is potential for more timber planting, kura, sandalwood also.
So both at the local level and at government level there needs to be action concerning the use of land whether it is freehold, or leasehold - residential, agricultural or development and there is always the consideration that Fijians think of the future in keeping some land for their children and their grandchildren.