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North Cane Farmers Label Budget As Promising

North Cane Farmers Label Budget As Promising
Harvesting gang cutting sugarcane at Batinikama in Labasa on June 29,2018. Photo:Shratika Naidu
July 01
12:15 2018

Cane Farmers in the Northern Division have labelled the 2018-2019 budget as “promising”.

This is after the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced an $85 per tonne cane payment for the next three years.

The incentives were possible because of the Government’s effort to reduce the cost base for farmers and mechanise the sugar cane industry.

Farmer Vijen Prasad said the Bainimarama Government recognises the needs of sugar cane farmers.

“The budget announcement will go a long way in lowering the financial burdens on us farmers, and it is a further proof of the Government’s commitment to reducing the cost base for us cane growers,” Mr Prasad said.

“The Government will be setting up a new cane stabilisation price, funded in partnership with the Fiji Sugar Corporation, of $85 per tonne for all cane payments for the next three years.

“For us sugar cane farmers this is good news.

“The Government have already maintained cane payments of $82 for the past three years, but now they are going to be able to bring a solid level of stabilisation- after hearing this in the budget announcement on Thursday night, I called our neighbour for a grog session.

“With this continued assistance, growers’ confidence to invest more in their farms will increase and there should not be any reason why cane production should not increase.

“This is a promising budget, the Government of the day talks the walk- actions speaks louder than word with the FijiFirst Government,” he said.

Another farmer Mohammed Riaz said cane farmers have been suffering for many years because previous governments did not stabilised cane payments.

“Before with the payments received from sugar cane, I would pay our labourers and pay maintenance on tractors and other machineries,” Mr Riaz said.

“After all payments are done, I do not have any more money left with me to feed my family and to pay for bills.

“I must commend the Government of the day into looking into this, now this will encourage farmers to plant cane here in the North.

“Many farmers had opted for grog as it was good money.

With price stability for tonnes of sugar cane, I am sure that this will encourage farmers to plant cane,” he said.

Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty said the cane payment will boost the sugar cane industry in Fiji.

“We at Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council welcome the budget announcement and would like to acknowledge the FijiFirst Government for their continuous support,” Mr Chetty said.

“I would like to acknowledge Government for continuation of subsidies for fertiliser, weedicide, cane planting grant, maintenance of cane access roads and other support,” he added.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

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