SUNBIZ

Cane Farmers Concerned About Stray Animals

The Fiji Sugarcane Growers Council is concerned about the increasing number of complaints received on stray animals damaging cane crops. Farmers in the Western Division have spoken of leaving the
30 Jan 2017 11:00
Cane Farmers Concerned About Stray Animals
Ajay Chand points out to the horses that were in his canefield yesterday morning eating off the lately planted cane crop. Photo: ARISHMA DEVI NARAYAN.

The Fiji Sugarcane Growers Council is concerned about the increasing number of complaints received on stray animals damaging cane crops.

Farmers in the Western Division have spoken of leaving the sugarcane industry because the issue has seriously gone out of hand.

It has even led farmers to be blacklisted on the Cane Planting Grant as result of failure to produce cane.

The Council chief executive, Sundresh Chetty said the matter had been ongoing and sadly no one took responsibilty for the damages.

He said farmers incure huge losses.

“But now we will be arranging talks with the concerned ministries including Agriculture and Sugar to curb the situation,” Mr Chetty said.

He said blacklisted farmers who failed to produce the expected cane amount as a result of damaged crops from stray animals would have to first address the issue before applying for the grant as well.

“Unfortunately, unless and until we find a solution for the stray animals, we cannot ensure that the grant given to the farmers will be profitable.

“So we have to immediately work to find a solution to this issue as farmers for years have been heartbroken despite their attempts every year to produce better yields.”

Ajay Chand of Tau in Momi, Nadi, who forecasted a harvest of more than 22 tonnes of cane from his 18 acre cane field, said in the last harvest season he struggled to harvest 16 tonnes.

He said the worry was despite the Ministry of Agriculture officers meeting with the villages and the farmers to counsel them, tthe horse owners had not acted.

Mr Chand is requesting the Ministry to take up act against the owners and advise them or come up with strategies to solve the matter.

The Turaga ni Koro of Tau village in Momi, Iliasa Varani, said he would reiterate the concerns to the horse owners today in a meeting.

He also stressed that the Ministry of Agriculture needed to meet in the village.

The Ministry of Agriculture is yet to respond to questions sent to it.

 

Edited By: Kathrin Krishna

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