NATION

Prolonged Dry Spell Affects Sugarcane Farms

Sugarcane farmers in the Western Division are feeling the brunt of the prolonged dry spell. In some areas, visibility of parched land is seen. As a result of this, farmers
25 Sep 2014 08:33
Prolonged Dry Spell Affects Sugarcane Farms
Flying Fijians at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva

Sugarcane farmers in the Western Division are feeling the brunt of the prolonged dry spell.

In some areas, visibility of parched land is seen.

As a result of this, farmers have halted planting sugarcane for the 2015 season.

Mohammed Jameel Sakur, 40, of Moala in Nadi says the long dry spell is similar to the drought experienced in 1997.

“I have been a sugarcane farmer for over two decades and this dry spell will impact the sugarcane tonnage from my farm,’’ Mr Sakur said.

He harvests about 300 tonnes of sugarcane annually, but the figure could drop if the dry spell continues.

“In 1997, I harvested close to 130 tonnes because of the drought and this year the production rate of my farm will be affected.

“I have planted new sugarcane on two acres of land and have not ploughed the remaining ten acres.”

He said this was because he would not uproot the ratoons which helped in retaining moisture in the soil.

And despite planting new sugarcane, the growth has been affected by the weather.

Mr Sakur is unable to plant any vegetables and crops for additional income.

Meanwhile, Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer, Sundresh Chetty says planting has stopped in the Western Division.

“We need a good amount of rain to resume planting and if this dry spell continues, there will be a huge impact on sugar production in the 2015 season,’’ Mr Chetty said.

However, Mr Chetty says farmers have been advised to plant on new areas and not to plough their farm land which has ratoons from the recent harvest.

Feedback: sheik.dean@fijisun.com.fj

 

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