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Farmers To Embrace Technology: Chandra

  Cane farmers need to embrace technology as this would help eliminate husbandry issues with the production of sugar cane. Fiji Sugar Corporation chief operating officer, Navin Chandra said this
29 Jan 2019 09:00
Farmers To Embrace Technology: Chandra
Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Ashneel Sudhakar talking to cane farmers at Nawai in Sigatoka on January 28

 

Cane farmers need to embrace technology as this would help eliminate husbandry issues with the production of sugar cane.

Fiji Sugar Corporation chief operating officer, Navin Chandra said this was the way forward for the industry now.

Mr Chandra was speaking to farmers during the development of the National Sugar Industry Policy and Strategies at Nawai, Sigatoka yesterday,

“Firstly, let me say mechanical harvesters are here to stay and this is all part of technology we have introduced.”

Some of the 30 farmers who turned up at the consultation had various complains regarding the harvesters and this ranged from costs of harvesting to the limited areas harvesters could operate in.

A farmer, Ganga Sami said some mechanical harvesters selected which farms they wanted to harvest first.

Mr Sami said farmers’ wives and other women were now working in the farms and this showed the lack of labourers to hire.

Calls were made for the education of those operating the machines on areas it operate in and also for farmers to ensure their farms clear rocks and obstacles which hindered the operations.

FSC CEO, Graham Clark said what was lacking were farm advisory services which were available before and was phased out some time ago.

Mr Clark said these advisory services could be the link between the introduction of modern technology and farmers.

Another farmer, Naushad Ali said despite incentives and grants provided by Government through FSC and the Ministry of Sugar the laxity in FSC field officers was the problem.

Mr Ali said an example was the cane planting proceeds which he was still waiting for since sending his signed form four weeks ago.

“In the meantime we have to pay out from our pockets for the cane seeds,” he said.

Other concerns which arose included:

  •  The incomplete construction of cane access roads
  •  Farmers be given the contracts to fix cane excess roads in their area
  •  Grants enjoyed by farmers on flat land areas be also given to farmers whose farms are on hilly areas
  •  A re-look at the Master Award which was over 40 years old as the industry has changed over the years
  •  The issue of cane payment where suggestions that a lump sum be paid after the last harvesting of each farm and the remainder be paid monthly
  • FSC subsidise extra harvesting costs where farmers who normally paid around $30 were paying up to $42 to $45.
  •  The resurrection of road committees in sugar cane farming areas

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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