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WHAT BUDGET MEANS TO YOU-Cane Farmers Find Govt Budget Sweet

WHAT BUDGET MEANS TO YOU-Cane Farmers Find Govt Budget Sweet
Lautoka cane farmers Vinod Kumar (left), Govind Sami, Jai Kumar (right), and Hari Shankar (second from right) share their happiness with Sugar Cane Growers council chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty at Vitogo on June 30, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers
July 01
13:51 2017

The Sugar Cane Growers Council has expressed its appreciation for the Budget allocations for cane farmers around the country.

SCGC chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty said the assistance being provided now for farmers was unprecedented.

“We are overwhelmed by the assistance through the 2017-2018 National Budget,” Mr Chetty said.

“The allocations in the different areas of the industry for the farmers will surely bring a lot of confidence amongst farmers.” He said the subsidy would help farmers increase production.

He said the reduction in fertiliser cost had been made through an allocation of $6.3 million.

Government has also allocated $15.4 million for cane development, an increase of $6 million from the last Budget.

Apart from this, $3 million has been allocated for cane access roads and drainage and $4 million for 3167 farmers who did not benefit from the last fourth cane payment.

In this payment, farmers who had outstanding loans did not repay it as this was paid for by Government so this $4 million was for those who did not benefit as they had no arrears or outstanding loans.

A further $5 million has been allocated for mechanisation and irrigation.

Mr Chetty said the allocation given to FSC to purchase 300 trucks for transportation of cane was highly commendable and beneficial for farmers.

Also the price for hiring of mechanical harvesters would be regulated and charges would be set at $17 as compared to the present charge of $33 being paid by farmers.

With other allocations, Mr Chetty said the farmers have been and would be more than happy with the assistance. He said SCGC would work closely with FSC over allocations for farmers to see that this was done properly.

Meanwhile, sugar cane farmers in Macuata in the Northern Division have thanked the Government.

Subhnesh Prasad of Daku in Macuata said the announcement of $60 million to the sugar industry was a positive development for the cane farmers.

Mr Prasad said he was extremely delighted with the allocated increase of $15.4m in fertiliser subsidy for this financial year. Mr Prasad said compared to the 2016/2017 allocation of $9m, this financial year as a farmer he would only need to pay around $20 for a bag of fertiliser. They are currently paying around $31.50 for a bag.

For Basoga farmer outside Labasa, Taazmeen Mohammed shared the same sentiments and said that this was one of Government’s best budgets as it reached out to cane farmers.

Mr Mohammed who pays around $60 for the delivery of his sugarcane to the Labasa mill for each trip said the increase of fertiliser subsidy allocated by Government would assist him save money.

“We are always looking forward to hearing something positive, the Attorney- General said the subsidy cost of products to control weed and raise cane yield, something for the first time in Fiji I think and we are happy,” Mr Mohammed said.

Sugar cane farmer Shamshad Ali, 62, said: “I am happy and thankful to the Fijian Government for the 2017-2018 National Budget.”

“Cane farmer’s children will now be encouraged to stay and continue farming.”

Mr Ali is also an advisory councillor for Vakabuli, Paipai, Vitogo, Bila and Lololo Lautoka. He has 15 acres of land in Vakabuli.

“As an advisory councillor, I can prove that this Government has done many things for the farmers,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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