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Lies in Cane Belt Exposed

Lies in Cane Belt Exposed
Sugarcane on its way to the mill
April 05
11:13 2017

Rakiraki cane farmers have been misled to believe they have to pay for transport to cart cane to the Ba mill.

The lies were exposed in an interview the Fiji Sun conducted with the farmers yesterday.

Farmers said they were told by some people that they would pay for transport.

But the Fiji Sugar Corporation said it was paying for transport.

The closure of the Penang Mill in Rakiraki had sparked a heated debate on the future of the farmers. They would now be required to take their cane to Rarawai Mill to be crushed.

FSC’s  chief executive officer, Graham Clark, said: “This is a delicate situation and I feel we may have some trouble makers going around giving false information to farmers.”

“I am reiterating that no farmer will be out of pocket as far as transportation goes.

“FSC is footing all the transportation costs and farmers will not pay anything at all.

“FSC is concerned that these farmers are being misinformed.”

He said FSC was in the process of meeting with lorry transport operators to discuss a rate for the transportation of all sugar cane in Rakiraki to the Rarawai Mill.

A 31-year-old sugarcane farmer of Nanuku sector, Vikash Deo, said: “As for now the Fijian Government will pay our transportation cost but my major concern is who will pay for the transportation cost in future.

“Sugarcane is our main source of income and in the near future no one will do sugarcane farming due to the increase in costs.”

Vilitati Nakauta, 46, of Vunitogoloa settlement,  46, said: “I am now planning to do root crop farming after the sugarcane crushing season is over.”

“I do not know the cost of transportation yet and the transportation cost from here to Rarawai Mill will be expensive.”

Raravatu village sugarcane farmer Ravin Lal, 55, said: “Fijian Government should rebuild the Penang Mill.

“My major concern now is who will pay for the cost if the transport carrying our sugarcane to Rarawai Mill will break down.”

Another sugarcane farmer of Raravatu village, Jitendra Prasad, 43, said: “I have heard in the news that we would have to pay transportation cost to take cane to the Penang Mill while FSC would pay for the carting of cane to the Rarawai Mill from there.”

Sugarcane farmer of Ellington,Mahen Chand, 56, said: “I do not know the cost of transportation for carrying our sugarcane from here to Rarawai Mill.

“In the past years I have been taking my sugarcane more than three times in a day to Rakiraki Mill.”

Subash Chand, 70, of Ellington, said: “I am concerned whether FSC will allow cartage of cane below 10 tonnes.”

Jone Kelei, 57, of Vunimoli  said: “It’s at least fair that we will pay for transportation cost from here to Penang Mill and Fiji Government will pay for the cost from Penang Mill to Rarawai Mill.”

Suliasi Baleitave, 58, of Nakorokula village said: “There will be no sugarcane farming happening in Rakiraki in the future.

“I would appreciate that the Fijian Government would rebuild the Penang Mill.”

Mahesh Kumar, 54, of Galau Road was worried about the weight of his harvested sugarcane when it reached Rarawai Mill.

Another sugarcane farmer of Galau Road said after he heard that the Penang Mill would close, he  started to plant root crops and other vegetables to earn for a living.

“The cost of transportation from here to Rarawai Mill will be now very costly,” he said.


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