SUNBIZ

Farmers Wait For Mechanical Harvesters, Decisions Made Before March, Says Karan

The Government has set aside a  separate budget for mechanical cane harvesters. But how these machines will be brought in and utilised, will be discussed at the Fiji Sugar Corporation
16 Jan 2017 14:19
Farmers Wait For Mechanical Harvesters, Decisions Made Before March, Says Karan
From left: Ministry of Sugar director Viliame Gucake,Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan,Sugar Industry Tribunal Commissioner Timothy Brown, Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive Sundresh Chetty and farmer Kuwar Singh at Nawaicoba in Nadi. Photo: LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI

The Government has set aside a  separate budget for mechanical cane harvesters.

But how these machines will be brought in and utilised, will be discussed at the Fiji Sugar Corporation board meeting on January 23.

During a discussion with the sugarcane farmers at Nawaicoba in Nadi on Saturday, the Permanent Secretary for Sugar, Yogesh Karan said the Ministry was looking at other avenues and options of deployment of the machines.

He said as the proposal stated only two or three mechanical harvesters would be purchased for the FSC so that cane farmers could use them.

It would not be enough to cater for  all the farms in all the sectors.

Therefore, Mr Karan said farmers could put it in suggestions on how mechanical harvesters could be availed to all efficiently.

He also suggested that farmers could form a cooperative and the Government would pay for the machine to be bought.

Mr Karan added the farmers could slowly pay for this or they could purchase the machines and have the Government pay the deposits and the rest be paid by them.

He said there was a need to bring in cane farm machinery in order to counter the shortage of labourers in the industry.

Mr Karan also added that the decisions on this would be made before March.

Meanwhile the Lautoka Cane Producers Association president, Prabindra Singh, said he was bringing in three mechanical harvesters.

Mr Singh said he had requested for some sort of allowances for the farmers to be able to cater for the operations and to reduce their cost.

At the same time, farmers have once again suggested that they needed to go back to rail system but with the modern facilities.

Farmers suggested they needed cage bins in order to transfer cane which would help in reducing pollution and not waste cane.

Mr Karan said going back to rail mode was the best option for the industry as it was very cheap.

He has advised the farmers to discuss and inform the Ministry on what their collective thoughts were in relation to cane transportation.

EDITED BY: FARZANA NISHA

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