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Farm Mechanisation Grant To Ease Farmers Burden

Farm Mechanisation Grant To Ease Farmers Burden
Ministry of Sugar Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan (right) with Nasoka Cane Farmers Cooperative secretary Sanjeev Narayan signing agreement at Labasa Cane Producers' Association office in Labasa on August 9,2018. Photo:Shratika Naidu
August 10
11:23 2018

Two cane farmers’ co-operatives in Labasa would receive $45,000 grant each as part of the farm mechanisation grant after signing the agreement with the Ministry of Sugar Industry yesterday.

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Sugar Industry Yogesh Karan signed the agreement with Nasoka Cane Farmers Co-operative and Qelewaqa Cane Farmers Co-operative at the Labasa Cane Producers Association (LCPA) office.

Mr Karan said these two co-operatives were among other 22 co-operatives to receive the grant.

Through this grant, co-operatives could buy a set of Mahindra tractor with eight different implements proven to be durable for sugarcane farming.

The total cost for a set of tractor with implements is $115,000 of which $45,000 (around 40 per cent) will be provided as a grant by the Ministry of Sugar Industry to co-operatives.

$70,000 (around 60 per cent) will be financed as loan through the Fiji Development Bank (FDB).

Mr Karan said the Government wants to make the sugar industry better.

“We know that we have gone through many difficult times like the Tropical Cyclone Winston,” Mr Karan said

“The sugar statistics that has been given was one of the lowest in 2016 but now we see an upward trend.

“Government’s plan is to make this industry a sustainable one.

“There are a lot of issues we see on hands,” he said.

“I know the issues like cane access roads, huge cost of transportation, cost of finding  cane cutters, feeding and training them are increasing.

“Overhead costs cannot be eliminated.

“This is the reason the Government wants to mechanise the industry,” he added.

“We should have done this many decades ago.

“Government’s plan is to make sure we put in funding in areas where there are specific needs,” Mr Karan said.

“We want to work very closely with you because for me farmers are important.”

Meanwhile, Qelewaqa Cane Co-operatives Secretary Krishneel Anand said through these grant 12 farmers would directly benefit.

Nasoka Cane Farmers Co-operative secretary Sanjeev Narayan said ten farmers would benefit from this grant.

However, the non-co-operative farmers can also hire a tractor at a cheap rate from the cane co-operatives.



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