Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama today handed over $5 million in lease security bonus payment to landowners who lease their land to Fiji Pine Limited.
Bainimarama says 2020 has proven to be the most challenging year the Fiji Pine Industry has ever seen.
He says sold timber demand dropped by 40 percent and the global wood chip market took a major dive in both volume and price and as a result the Drasa Sawmill had to be shut for full five weeks.
Bainimarama says even when production finally returned they were faced with immense market challenges.
He says there are about 25,000 pine landowners who rely on the industry through the land they lease and a number of these landowners come from far and rural areas whose local economies depend on their connections to rest of the country.
The Prime Minister says when there are so many thousands of families dependent directly on the continuity of the pine industry, Fiji Pine refused to give up even in the face of unprecedented adversity.
He says this is why the board and management of Fiji Pine Group took quick action putting together business continuity plans to ensure that the landowners and workers will not be affected from global crises.
Fiji Pine Limited has so far paid $24.1 million in lease security bonus payment.
Bainimarama says this is a remarkable return on landowners investment.
He says 30% of the bonus is paid through equal distribution mechanism while the remaining 70% is paid by way of income-generating and community building projects.
Bainimarama says this new approach allowed rapid injection of development funding projects among landowning communities.
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