PM: Govt To Cover Cane Farmers’ Premium For 6 Months Of 2020

Under the terms of the scheme, growers agreed to begin paying premium from July
16 Oct 2020 12:46
PM: Govt To Cover Cane Farmers’ Premium For 6 Months Of 2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Government officials, stakeholders and sugarcane growers on October 15, 2020. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

The Government will cover the sugarcane farmers’ premium for their bundled insurance for the last six months of this year. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced this to sugar farmers in Ba yesterday.

“As you know, under the terms of the Bundled Insurance Scheme, the growers agreed to begin paying the premium in July 2020,” he said.

“But we know how brutal the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact has been for Fiji, including for our cane industry.

“So when the Sugarcane Growers Fund asked the Government to consider paying the growers’ premium from July through December 2020—we said yes. The result is this grant agreement, in the amount of $300,731.76.”

Mr Bainimarama said the many setbacks after COVID-19 included not being able to operate mechanised harvesters as efficiently as technicians from India were stuck overseas.

He said these premium payments would have created an additional financial burden on Fiji’s cane growers. The Bundled Insurance Scheme began in 2017 and is offered by the Fiji Care Insurance.

The scheme covers death, fire, personal accident and funeral costs. It was developed by the Cane Growers and the Sugarcane Growers Fund, with some financial support provided by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme, Sugarcane Growers Council and Fiji Sugar Corporation.

“We covered nearly 12,000 active cane growers under age 65 through this scheme at a relatively low premium, and the Sugarcane Growers Fund volunteered to pay the premium for all registered growers for the first three years,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“The fund paid a total of more than $1.8 million in premiums from July 2017 through June 2020.”

As of last June, $982,000 was claimed by 251 growers.

It was also a special day for cane farmer Ganeshwa of Ba. Mr Bainimarama presented him his insurance claim payout of $3000 for a house fire.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce



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