SUNBIZ

Nadroga Cane Farmers Plead For Return Of Rail Carting

  Sugarcane farmers gathered in Sigatoka have called on the Government to bring back railways to transport sugarcane to the Lautoka Mill. The request was made by Nadroga cane farmer
04 Jul 2016 10:42
Nadroga Cane Farmers Plead  For Return Of Rail Carting
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs Lorna Eden said a report will be put together and presented in Parliament.

 

Sugarcane farmers gathered in Sigatoka have called on the Government to bring back railways to transport sugarcane to the Lautoka Mill.

The request was made by Nadroga cane farmer Ranga Gounder while making submissions to the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs at Talenavuruvuru in Sigatoka last Friday.

Mr Gounder said: “The railway is cheaper and easier for the farmers, Instead of paying $16 per tonne, at present it is $16 per tonne, we can save more money by using rail.

“This kind of wet weather; we suffer from April to September. The force of the wind, how can we deliver the cane… it is very hard,” he said.

Mr Gounder said they were suffering many constraints and difficulties to take cane to the mill.

“For example from Kavanagasau to the Lautoka mill, I don’t know how many kilometres that is but that’s why even the CSR Company made this railway system.”

Another concerned farmer Sukendra Kumar from Cuvu sector said it was hard for them to harvest cane out from their farms in the rainy season which incurred extra transportation expenses.

“It is very hard to save money, if we have rails in the Cuvu sector and Kavanagasau, we can save money for ourselves. We have to use our tractors to pull it out from the farm to the main road.

“We have to spend plenty of money, hire extra labour to load sugarcane and deliver and we have to pay them $5 for the cartage and $5 per tonne for transport trailer,” he said.

Mr Kumar also requested for the price of fertilisers to be decreased to make it more affordable to farmers.

Standing committee member and Opposition MP Viliame Gavoka agreed that the harvesting cost was a big problem.

“Everywhere harvesting cost is the problem, and I think it is more difficult here in Sigatoka, there is no rail up to Batiri, so from Kavanagasau, Olosara and Cuvu all lorries,” he said.

“Weather is always like this every year, from around this period till August, it is very hard to harvest with the lorry.”

Meanwhile, Standing Committee on Economic Affairs chairperson Lorna Eden said a report will be put together and presented in Parliament.

EDITED BY: FILIPE NAIGULEVU

Feedback:  litia.tikomailepanoni@fijisun.com.fj

 

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