Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - www.fijitimes.com
THE Native Lands Trust Board has defended its policy on land leases where landowners need to apply for a title of their own land even after it is returned to them by their tenants.
NLTB manager northern Joreti Dakuwaqa said that any person who wished to lease any Native land, irrespective of whether they were landowners or not would have to lodge application using the standard forms together with other personal details.
"An expired lease cannot be transferred and as such we need to process a new lease altogether to the new lessee," Mr Dakuwaqa said.
His comment comes after the Taukei Cane Growers Association raised concern on why landowners have to apply for a lease on their own land if they wanted to use it for cultivation of cane.
They also blamed the NLTB for the high presence of idle land in the division as a result of such process.
Association president Adi Sivo Ravuwale said that such situation has discouraged landowners from cultivating land as most won't benefit from any cane payments because the land title has not been transferred to them despite the expiry of leases.
Mr Dakuwaqa said the process to transfer the title to landowners who want to farm cane on their land took approximately three months to process.
"It takes long only if certain requirements in our approval conditions are not met by the applicant," Mr Dakuwaqa said