NATION

Vanuatu Cane Cutters Group: Thank You Fiji

The men are being paid $20 per tonne and were being billeted in a house built by a farmer in the area. A further 120 Vanuatu nationals will join their countrymen next year.
17 Nov 2019 13:34
Vanuatu Cane Cutters Group: Thank You Fiji
Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karan with the Vanuatu labourers and some Ba residents in Ba on November 16, 2019. Photo: Charles Chambers

Vanuatu nationals brought into the country as labourers to cut sugarcane thanked the Government for providing them with an employment opportunity.

The 19 cane cutters, who have been in the country for two weeks, have already harvested more than 200 tonnes of cane from the Balevuto area in Ba.

A further 120 Vanuatu nationals will join their countrymen next year. There are plans to have them work full-time planting and for farm care during the offseason.

This could include cultivating cane in the hilly terrains during the crushing season.

The men are being paid $20 per tonne and were being billeted in a house built by a farmer in the area.

The men yesterday raised one concern with Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karan and director Sanjay Kumar and that was for an increase in payment per tonnage from the present $20.

Mr Karan assured the ‘Team Vanuatu’ that new policies would be looked into including their accommodation while in Fiji.

The men, some of whom are married are aged 20 to 30 years old. They have expressed their gratitude to the Fijian Government for providing this opportunity.

Spokesperson Daniel Melanamu said they were happy and enjoyed the work.

Mr Karan said the biggest problem was the labour.

“We are going to work on some policies and how best to assist people like them,” he said.

“We depend on people like Peniasi Sokia Evo of KED Investments (the agent who assisted in the hiring of the workers along with ministry officials) to do the hard yards in Vanuatu.

“We are going to other island countries so that we can bring labour into Fiji just like what Australia and New Zealand does.

“It is closer and much more efficient because our climatic conditions are the same.”

Mr Karan said farmers on Vanua Levu have also made requests for labour.

“I will propose to the Prime Minister on what we can do to help the farmers feel at home and possible assistance in terms of the barracks and some beddings,” Mr Karan said.

Meanwhile, cane farmers Dharmendra Kumar and Filipe Turaga were impressed. They described the Vanuatu nationals as hard workers.

“And easy to get along with,” Mr Kumar said.

Mr Turaga echoed similar sentiments.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedbackcharles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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