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Harvester Boosts Saweni Farmers

Harvester Boosts Saweni Farmers
Farmers from Saweni, Lautoka, with the new cane harvester on July5, 2018. Photo: Yogesh Chandra
July 09
12:46 2018

Farmers in Saweni, Lautoka, were filled with joy af­ter the addition of a new sugarcane harvester.

Nand Kishore, President of Lautoka Cane Produc­ers Association, said that he was really happy to be assisted through the fair trade initiative by the Fijian Government.

It allowed them to purchase the new harvester from India worth $280,000 which was given to them last Thursday.

The harvester would save a lot of time and money as well.

It generally takes around a day to harvest and load a truck of sugarcane however the harvester is able to do the work under 40 minutes.

Mr Kishore said that it gets very difficult for farmers to look for cane-cutters, and with the increased demand, their cost also tends to increase.

“Farmers will benefit a lot with this.

“Farmers were in need of a harvester that’s why we brought this one,” he added.

Mr Kishore also said that farmers would not have to pay for the operational and maintenance costs.

“Our association will pay for it from our funds. It’s not that we will demand a farmer to pay for the costs if it gets damaged in their harvesting fields,” he added.

Currently the harvester is operated by a national from In­dia, however Mr Kishore is hoping to train locals as well.

“Doors are open to anyone who wants to learn,” he stated.

The revenue generated from the use of harvesters is giv­en back to the people in terms of aid and assistance in dif­ferent ways.

“If there is a death in the family, we give $300 assistance to the famers,” he stated.

Mr Kishore said that the association was also helping farmers in other ways as well.

“With the fair trade initiative, we are able to assist a lot of farmers,” he stated.

“We give them fertiliser, boots, spraying equipment’s, weedicide, knives, files.

“We have a lot of plans to assist the farmers in the future as well,” he added.

Lalit Kumar, Sardar (Sugarcane-Head) of the area said that the harvester would assist a lot of farmers in the area.

“It is cheaper than manual cane cutting,” he added.

The expected harvest from this is at 13,000 tons.

“This will harvest 3000 tons in Saweni sector, 3000 tons in Cuvu sector and 7000 tons in Drasa sector,” Mr Kishore said.

Labasa Mill update

Since the beginning of the 2018 crushing season, the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) La­basa Mill has crushed 42,000 tonnes of cane as at July 3.

This was confirmed by FSC chief operating of­ficer Navin Chandra.

He said since the mill opened on June 19, a total of 3,500 tonnes of sugar was produced.

“Cane supply has been improving and we are now almost hitting the target,” Mr Chandra said.

“In the last 24 hours de­livery 5,300 tonnes of cane was crushed.

“Just as a comparison 550 tonnes was from rail trucks and 633 from lorries.

“Our target is to crush 5,500 tonnes of cane in 24 hours.”

He said Labasa mill has started well with crushing season and going on a steady rate.

“The Tonnes Cane to Tonnes Sugar (TCTS) for this week was 10.5,” he said.

“Our target is to bring it to 8.5.

“We are encouraging the use of mechanical harvesters which should be operational by next week.

“Also we would like to continue to encourage consistent cane supply and farmers to work together.

“Labasa mill is expected to crush over 700,000 tonnes of cane.”

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