SUNBIZ

Sugar FSC Urged: Help The iTaukei Farmers

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has been urged to ‘go that extra mile’ for iTaukei cane farmers in assisting them with cane production. The call was made by the Permanent Secretary
14 Jan 2017 11:24
Sugar FSC Urged: Help The iTaukei Farmers

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has been urged to ‘go that extra mile’ for iTaukei cane farmers in assisting them with cane production.

The call was made by the Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karan while meeting with cane farmers at Nabuna Village in Tavua yesterday.

Mr Karan told FSC officials, including acting chief executive Mika Biokoto  to provide that extra assistance to the iTaukei farmers.

“The indo-Fijian farmers have been doing sugar cane farming since it began and they know how to cope,” Mr Karan said.

“But with the iTaukei farmers, we need to go that extra mile to help them with cane production.”

Cane farmers Sainivalati Solei and Saimoni Viala of Nabuna village said they could not get assistance from indo-Fijian farmers for use of lorries for transportation of harvested cane to the mills.

Mr Solei, who spoke in the Hindi dialect, said they were willing to return to rail trucks for transportation of cane but their trailers needed maintenance.

The biggest problem being face by these farmers was the regular flooding of their cane fields during rainy season.

He said the mouth of the Nakasi River had built up silt during the years and with no dredging done, the place became flooded easily.

“Before when our forefathers were here, there was no such problem so we are asking the dredging of this river so that it won’t flood our fields.”

Mr Karan said the onus was also on cane farmers to increase production of can and also replanting.

He said the ‘blacklist’ of certain cane farmers, who had not properly utilised assistance given by Government would be re-looked at.

“You need to show that there is improvement in productivity and we can then remove the names from the list.”

“If cane farmers cannot increase production, then all assistance provided by Government would come to no use,” Mr Karan told the farmers.

Mr Karan noted that there was a dire need to provide a mechanical harvester to these farmers in Nabuna and asked FSC to look into the matter.

He said this would take away the worry of cane farmers over the increasing costs of hiring cane cutters.

The meeting heard that cane cutters cost had rise from $18 per tonne to $20 and then to the present $25.

Mr Karan held several meetings with farmers in Yaladro and other areas in Tavua yesterday.

Concerns raised by farmers in Yaladro included the dredging of the Yaladro/Nasivi River, which was of major worry.

The upgrading of the Yaladro Road, the provision of irrigation equipment to assist farmers during times of drought and the need for a mechanical harvester, is being sought by the Yaladro Farmers Co-operative.

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