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EDITORIAL: Cane Farmers Should Seriously Look At Using Technology

  The Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark did not mince his words when he asked cane farmers in Rakiraki and other indus­try stakeholders to start thinking radically.
15 Jan 2019 15:58
EDITORIAL: Cane Farmers Should Seriously Look At Using Technology
Graham Clark

 

The Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark did not mince his words when he asked cane farmers in Rakiraki and other indus­try stakeholders to start thinking radically.

Not in a sense of real extreme, but in a way of making some tough decisions which may not go with what has always been “the flow”.

Speaking to cane farmers in Rakiraki yesterday during the Sugarcane Growers Consultation on National Sugar Industry Policy at the Penang Mill, Mr Clark suggested some radical thinking towards:

  • Getting rid of labour problems like Mauritius did where they hired laborers from Bangladesh
  • Re-building the rail system from Rakiraki to Ba to lower costs from $30 a tonne for carting cost to around $6 per tonne
  • Suggesting the setting up of block farms where the costs are shared and the burden becomes less on in­dividual farmers
  • Luring IT people into cane farming with the lat­est in farming technology
  • The creation of special loading zones for sugar cane where the quality of the cane is preserved

Cane farmers need to move away from the traditional thinking of managing cane farms because the bottom line is that escalating costs will close individual farmers down.

The age of technology has been here for some time, but farmers seem afraid to embrace new methods which will, at the end of the day, put more money in their pockets.

Mr Clark and the FSC chairman Vishnu Mohan have travelled the world, in their own fields before combining their experience at FSC and they, among any right now in the industry should know a lot more.

The example of one person managing a 10,000 hecatre farm in the United States with a computer as his guide is really beyond belief in Fiji.

Local farmers would think this was impossible but in this day and age the sky is the limit.

Cane farmers, and all farmers for that matter should seriously look at technology.

Imagine the computer telling you how much fertiliser to use and in which area on your farm may need it more than other areas.

This is definitely going to lower your costs for fertilis­ers as you may not have to use it unwisely.

Imagine your irrigation system being controlled by the computer when it realises through data that the farm needs to be irrigated.

Farmers would have more time in looking into other personal business or concentrate more and build their subsistence farming.

The need to change this mindset is a must and farm­ers must make the decision to jump on the bandwagon or miss out altogether.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

 

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