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$2m Harvester Efficiency Showed To PM At Cuvu

$2m Harvester Efficiency Showed To PM At Cuvu
The mechanical harvester and the hauler at the Fiji Sugar Corporation grounds in Cuvu, Nadroga. Photo: Sheetal Prasad
July 05
12:10 2015

The Prime Minister yesterday came to Cuvu to see a display. This was by a mechanical harvester that could help boost sugarcane farming in Nadroga, and landowner returns from this.

The display was organised for Voreqe Bainimarama – as Minister for Sugar – by 3 Dimension Consultants Limited at the Fiji Sugar Corporation compound.

This cane harvester and three haulers is an investment of $2 million by the New Zealand/Fiji company. 3 Dimension Consultants, specialists in development projects, are working to show how mechanisation can address some of the challenges facing the industry..

Mr Bainimarama sat in their presentation then watched the harvester play its part out on the field.

3 Dimension Project Director Emily Oakley stressed that the harvester does not displace farmers but attracts the younger generation.

Their aim is to show the industry about making more with less.

“If we can create twice as much sugar in the same amount of land then we are making something efficient,” she said.

“The cost of producing sugarcane will go down and the benefit in that is for the land owner and the grower.

“It cost a lot less to harvest cane with mechanical harvesters so it will be profitable for everybody.”

 

Contribution

Ms Oakley said:“We are contributing to a Vanua fund which will be a payment based on hectares

“The fund will go into improvements on infrastructure, health and education.”

 

Challenges

They require a minimum of 500 acres of flat land to be able to utilise this machine effectively.

Efforts are being made to get back into production land that is now not being farmed.

“There is around 10,000 acres within this area that used to be farmed as cane but now it has been left idle,” she said.

Ms Oakley said there is also the challenge of the aging workforce. “The average age of the sugarcane farmer is 60 years.

“We don’t have young people joining the industry, so we need to make the industry profitable and honourable.”

She said to drive the harvester; the person needs to be skilled and trained which allows a set up of the education system.

 

3Dimension

“At 3Dimension Consultants we see a future with sugarcane as once again the most profitable and sustainable industry in Fiji,” she said.

“We have this unique opportunity to act as industry leaders and pave away a change for the future.

“We have an opportunity to affect the livelihoods of ten and thousands of people as we stand for decreasing inefficiencies and increasing yield.”

But the company is tripping on some hurdles whereby they are seeking Government’s assistance. The Prime Minister’s visit and the attention he paid could be an indicator of this coming.

Feedback: sheetal.prasad@fijisun.com.fj

 

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