Beware Palm Oil, Chinese Investment, Equip Police, No Sugar
A Government release on Wednesday (No:0760/MOI) said "The core land area [the Malaysian] investors are looking at this to begin their business and achieve economies of scale is 30,000 hectares of land, probably in Lomaivuna. “I don’t see any problem with that given that we have land bank with the department of land,” said a Government spokesperson. “They are not only looking at bio-fuel, they are also looking at other downstream processes, to use the product from palm oil for other things. This an opportunity for Fiji to generate income and of course with the incentives we have, we will attract more investments in Fiji.” The semi-permanent of lease of land under land bank legislation raises further concerns: What incentives? What monitoring of the use of the land during the lease period? Lomaivuna has a rich agricultural history. Is there no better and safer use of its land than oil palm? See also this critical article in the Fiji Times.
N0301. CHINESE CASH AND LAND SETTLEMENT. In what must be a record, barely one month after application. China's Quantum Fiji Limited has been granted rights to proceed with property and property development in Fiji, that includes timber logging and processing, hotel operations, and commercial farming. The investment project is estimated to be worth F$60 million with F$35 million allocated for the first phase of development which involves the purchase of land, development of infrastructure, construction, planning and promotional activities for hotel operation.
The second stage of F$25 million investment will be geared towards the development of the commercial farm.The investors are expected to collaborate with the China Agricultural University in Beijing and experts in agricultural to set up a service organization that will provide modern commercial agricultural technologies and related services to its clients. Other developments expected to be undertaken by Quantum Fiji Limited include a hotel, residential area, and biological farm area.
The new operation is expected to boost investment in the Agriculture, Tourism and Services sector and provide employment to locals.
N0302. GIVE POLICE THE TOOLS TO DO THE JOB. This comment from a reader about the absence of information on the law:
"How may the Fiji Police apply the Law if they do not know what it is? Why are there not copies of these decrees available in each and every Community Police Post and Police Station? With these decrees should be the Section of the Crimes Decree which applies to Arrest Procedures, Court Procedures and - just as important - a copy of the Fiji Police Regulations which each officer must show he fully knows and understands. No copy of the regulations is available at our local post in the West. We checked three days ago. The Domestic Violence Decree requires considerable Police discretion. The Child Welfare Decree is Mandatory for reporting in certain sections. It is binding on many professionals and even on individuals in particular places: government departments, Health Centres, Social Welfare etc. If children are abused, it is no longer good enough to "walk on by". It is MANDATORY to report that a child is being abused. All Police Officers must now and fully comprehend their role.
The Fiji Public must be diligent in knowing the law. Crimes against Humanity like rape are not reconcilable and they are to remand those charged. We happen to know of at least three persons charged with rape who are on bail. One has not reported on bail conditions since May 2009. He is working at Denarau Island when last located. No Bench Warrant has been issued and the local police have been trying to "Pass the Buck" (to the Magistrate who bailed him - no longer serving). THIS WILL NOT DO.
N0303. SAVE OUR
FSC Executive chairman Abdul Khan said Tate and Lyle had agreed to a "price is significantly better than what has been paid in the past. Negotiations with the UK buyer began over a month ago with the FSC adamant that if a better price was not achieved, Fiji would be looking at other markets such as Japan and Korea who are very interested in Fiji sugar. A surge in global demand for has resulted in an increase in the global sugar price increasing by as much as 50%. It is hoped grower confidence in the industry will be boosted with the increase and the announcement that 40% of mill maintenance work has been completed.
Incredibly, Fiji has had to import 10,000 tonnes of sugar from Thailand this year to meet local demand before the crushing season. The price paid was around $2,000 per tonne.FSC exports this year averaged less than a $1,000 per tonne.
An unscheduled posting on the Reserve Bank's monetary policy and assessment of the economy will be posted at noon tomorrow,Tuesday.