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Growing demand for re-zoning of cane farms

June 5, 2021 4:05 pm

Agricultural land used for sugarcane farming has become highly sought out by people and businesses who want to use it for other purposes.

Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Voreqe Bainimarama revealed in parliament that the sector continues to face challenges and one emerging issue is the demand for land leases.

“There is a rising demand on agricultural land due to competing needs for developments including industrial, residential and other commercial purposes. As per industry records, 10 requests for re-zoning of agricultural sugarcane land are made every week on average.”

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Bainimarama adds there is a growing number of applications to re-zone land used for sugarcane farming.

He adds while government agencies involved in the sugar industry are consulted, they have no say in the final decision.

“The Sugar Industry Tribunal, FSC and Sugarcane Growers Council together inspect the land and provide opinion on whether the land can be re-zoned. Even if policies such as the sugarcane land use policy is developed, the enforcement would become a challenge given that the final authority to re-zone rests with Lands Department for State land Town and Country Planning for all other lands.”

The Prime Minister also told the House that issues such as expiring leases, low sugarcane harvest and labour shortages continue to affect the growth of the sector.

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