Koroisavou: Landowners should not feel threatened

Youth activist Jope Koroisavou. Picture: ATU RASEA/FT FILE

LANDOWNERS shouldn’t feel threatened by Government’s bullying tactics, says youth activist Jope Koroisavou.

He was responding to comments made by Agriculture Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy on plans to take action against landowners who evict farmers off their land without proper lease agreements.

During a talanoa session, a concerned Rakiraki farmer told Dr Reddy he feared landowners would take everything from him because lease documents were delayed.

In response, Dr Reddy said the landowners had no right to throw a farmer off his land.

“We will put them in jail,” he said.

“That’s your produce, that’s your investment.

“Even though you don’t have a legal right on it, by not stopping you initially, they have given you a tacit approval by law.”

Mr Koroisavou said he was concerned with the manner in which the minister planned to resolve the issue.

“Don’t threaten us landowners with such bullying tactics and you cannot and will not just put landowners in jail just because we are exercising our God-given rights over our land,” he said.

“Yes, I agree that when landowners give informal agreements with farmers to farm their land, it is the landowner’s responsibility to honour the agreement.

“But the minister cannot just make such disrespectful and condescending statements about landowners in Fiji.”

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