SUNBIZ

Cane Farmers Move To Overcome Labour Shortage

  With the cane harvesting/processing season nearing, farmers are once again challenged with securing labourers and cane cutters for harvesting. Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive, Sundresh Chetty, said
08 Jun 2016 09:53
Cane Farmers Move To Overcome Labour Shortage

 

With the cane harvesting/processing season nearing, farmers are once again challenged with securing labourers and cane cutters for harvesting.

Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive, Sundresh Chetty, said this has unfortunately been an ongoing issue.

He said the situation is such that farmers are trying to get labourers from far away and accommodate them near the farms.

In order to combat this shortage, cane farmers are now forming more cooperatives and buying mechanical cane harvesters.

Mr Chetty said they expect to see more mechanical cane harvesters in operation this year compared to only 15 the past year.

“We are quite happy to see farmers are forming cooperatives and buying mechanical cane harvesters. We are also encouraging farmers to form cooperatives,” he said.

The Labasa Mill will begin processing cane on June 16 followed by Rarawai Mill on July 19 and Lautoka Mill on July 20.

 

The industry

Meanwhile, Mr Chetty said Tropical Cyclone Winston had severely affected the cane industry and they now expect 30 to 35 per cent drop in cane production.

He further indicated they expect 1.4 million to 1.5 million tonnes of cane to be harvested this year.

“We don’t expect any major drop in the Labasa Mill area but those in Viti Levu, we do expect a drop,” he said.

 

Other works

Meanwhile, Mr Chetty said cane access road upgrades are underway with Government funding of $3 million and will be finished before the harvesting begins in the respective areas.

The council also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Land Transport Authority and Ministry of Transport the past week for concession to cane lorry operators.

“The cane lorry operators will once again be provided concession on wheel tax, road user levy and minor infringements,” he said.

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