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SUGAR: Government Grants Lifts Cane Planting

SUGAR: Government Grants Lifts Cane Planting
Fiji Sugar Corporation chief operating officer Navin Chandra (left), SCGC CEO Sundresh Chetty (second from right) and their staff meet farmer Indar Deo in Ellington on November 28. Photo: Charles Chambers
December 01
10:09 2017

Some cane farmers in Rakiraki have started turning unused land into farms. This was possible through the use of Government’s grants that were specifically established to revive the sugar industry.

In one case, Indar Deo, of Ellington, in Rakiraki has managed to entice one of his sons back into becoming a sugar cane farmer.

“The grants and subsidies on weedicides and fertilisers have allowed us to save more in our pockets,” Mr Deo said.

“The assistance to the farmers from Government is history and I am taking full advantage of it to increase my crop size,” he said.

FSC’s chief operating officer, Navin Chandra together with other management staff and Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty visited a number of farms in Rakiraki on Tuesday to review progress made in the area on cane planting.

“As part of FSC’s strategy Cane Development is core to FSC’s business which means that the focus of senior management should also reflect this change. Hence a lot of time is being spent by team visiting farmers, farms and also talking to FSC field staff,” Mr Chandra said.

Due to dry spell this year, planting season has been shortened and some cane growth has been affected due to well below average rainfall.

“With recent good rain received all growers and FSC is making all efforts to get as much crop planted within this planting season.”

Mr Chandra has emphasised to all staff that it required extra ordinary effort now to ensure that maximum land was prepared and planted.

“Just doing the best is not good enough hence FSC field staff will be working some long hours and weekends to ensure that growers are provided all the assistance so that they can plant crop.”

The team visited farms that previously lay idle for many years and which has now converted to planting sugar cane.

A particular farm is in Ellington Wharf road where 10 acres of land, which was sitting idle from 1987 has been converted into cane planting this year.

Mr Deo who previously mostly did vegetable farming has now converted most of his farm to sugar cane.

He was grateful for the subsidies provided by Government which has encouraged him to convert almost all his 25 acre land.

His son has returned to the farm to support him in cane development.

Hyder Begg, a farmer in Gallau, Rakiraki has converted last of his fallow land of 2.5 acreas into new sugar cane crop this year.

Mr Begg is also committed to carrying out ratoon replanting to replace old crop to get a better yield from his existing 28 acres under crop.

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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