Saturday, July 07, 2007

Land in Fiji

Land in Fiji
from w
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.


laminar_flow said...

Hear some company was making Dalo and Uto chips. Have u tried them?

Pandabonium said...

I've had "taro chips" in Hawaii, Laminar Flow, good tasting, but of course, "junk food" like any fried chip.

I am very much in favor of getting away from sugar and toward sustainability for Fiji (and everywhere else). As fossil fuel depletion continues, being able to feed people with local food production will become more important, and tourism and trade less so.

Before WWII, Japan was self sufficient for food. Now it produces only 40% of what is consumed. Pretty scary.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Peceli said he ate some of the commercial chip taro and cassava and said they are good. I used to make chips from uto and that's the best way to eat breadfruit. Dalo is good, but I still don't cassava is a healthy kind of food.
Panda, there's talk about bio-oil from sugar but setting it up would be costly and it still has to be mixed with petrol doesn't it?

sam said...

Yeah interesting postings, however panda your statement seems contradictory and debatable. Those chips are just ways of preserving food that would last long, eventhough it has lost some of its nutritive values, not all, it is better than none (think about countries where taro and uto cannot be grown, and have desires to try them). Encouraging Taro and Uto chips production for processing would positively boost farming strategies that would allow taro and uto cultivation on large scale.Unutilized fertile lands can be converted into usable forms and not only that, this industry would provide sources of income for farmers and workers in the farm as well as factories. Exporting those chips oversease would add to our foreign exchange and may be salvage unhealthy economy like those Fiji . Finally farming uto and taro will not only be environmentally friendly i.e reduces carbondioxide in air, reduces erosions and making use of unutilised fertile lands but also helps boost economy.


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I'm all for intensive vegetable farming rather than sugar. Our relatives have cane leases but really, the income is poor from it.
There is so much potential even with cassava - I like those cakes the women make with cassava, sugar and coconut cream. Delicious! I've never tried making them myself but one of our Fiji friends in Geelong made some last Sunday.
Peceli has gone to play golf this morning as it's sunny. It's his 71st birthday today so we might go to Smorgies for dinner tonight.