SUNBIZ

Fund Created To Assist Farmers In Rainy Days

  Sugar Cane Growers Fund Chief, Raj Sharma said the case Stabilisation Fund was created when the sugar industry was in its early days. And is similar to the present
24 Jan 2019 10:18
Fund Created To Assist Farmers In Rainy Days
Some of the cane farmers who turned up to the Sugar Consultations in Lautoka on January 23

 

Sugar Cane Growers Fund Chief, Raj Sharma said the case Stabilisation Fund was created when the sugar industry was in its early days.

And is similar to the present guaranteed price of $85 per tonne.

The fund was funded by Government, the then Colonial Sugar Refinery and the cane farmers.

Mr Sharma said this pool of money assisted farmers on occasions when the world market price of sugar fell whereby the farmers could draw from this.

He was responding to a suggestion from a farmer Ishaq Ali that farmers should not pay any interest on their loans as it was their (farmers) money during the development of the National Sugar Industry Policy and Strategies consultation in Lautoka yesterday.

“From 1997 to now, SCGF has played an active role in the industry.

“Loans, if not subsidised by Government, were given out to farmers at interest rates ranging from three per cent to a maximum of seven per cent or even eight percent.”

He said interest on loans by farmers needed to be paid as it was funding the development of sugar cane farming and other expenses.

Adding loans could also be made for purchase of modern technology equipment for the development of sugar cane farming but there must be something that the SCGF could fall back on if the farmers miss repayments.

Mr Sharma said these guarantees could come through Government grants similar for the purchase of harvesters where this fund could be used as contributions for farmers to get these loans.

He was reacting to suggestions from a land developer, who said commercial banks would not fund loans to purchase modern technology but would agree to loans for trucks,

Mr Sharma said giving a full funding for mechanisation by the SCGF was possible if there was a Government guarantee.

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