Sunday, February 17, 2008
It's the talk of the town but who has read the whole report? Anyway those who have more information are certainly saying what they think. It was commissioned I guess to try and get the sugar industry in Fiji out of the doldrums but the emphasis on changing the present way of leasing tribal lane. The idea of de-reserving chunks of Fijian owned land has certainly caused a kerfuffle. At the same time, there needs to be a strong commitment to wisely using some of the vacant land as the soil is so rich and Fiji could be self-sufficient in food if thousands of better, larger fruit and vegetable gardens were planted.
I'm not so much interested in sugar production these days as I do think 10 acre farms have had their day... and...I don't like the idea of huge mechanised plantations in Fiji either!
Anyway, here is one take on the report as in today's Fiji TV news:
One National News
Land Report critised by Academic 17 Feb 2008 02:39:42
A critical analysis of the Krishna Murti report which was commissioned by the Finance Ministry, has described it as lacking depth and understanding of the current situation here.
The University of the South Pacific's head of economics, Professor Biman Prasad says, the report fails to draw on numerous other studies done in the area, that have also offered viable alternatives to the land issue.Its a report that has stirred strong reactions. Now an anlysis of this report by the USP's head of economics concludes the authors of this report lack understanding and depth.
Professor Biman Prasad says the 12 page project proposal fails to highlight the various other factors that have led to the decline of the industry.He says it is misleading to say that land tenure alone has led to the decline of the sugar industry and using land de-reservation as a possible solution. Citing examples which Professor Prasad says illustrates the opposite, between 1997 and 2003, some 5,506 leases were renewed.
This critical analysis goes on to say that the Krishna Murti report is not about the availability of land but more to do with the inefficiencies of our farming techniques right through to milling processes.
In 2006 Professor Biman Prasad and fellow academic and now FIT director Dr Ganesh Chand had proposed the concept of a Master Lease.
Professor Prasad has even proposed a new institutional mechanism to steer the reform of the industry and the doing away of bodies like the Sugar Commission as adding uneccesary expense to the industry.