SUNBIZ

Sugar Industry Hope Containment, Curfew Ease Next Month For Start Of New Season

The crushing date for Lautoka Mill is June 14, Rarawai Mill is June 23 and Labasa Mill is July 7.
17 May 2021 19:12
Sugar Industry Hope Containment, Curfew Ease Next Month For Start Of New Season
The crushing start date for Lautoka Mill is June 14, Rarawai Mill is June 23 and Labasa Mill is on July 7. Photo: Susana Hirst-Tuilau

Following the announcement of crushing dates all the sugar industry stakeholders are planning out best options and preparing for the season, anticipating that the containment and curfews will ease by next month.

Sugar Cane Growers Fund chief executive officer Raj Sharma said they are always there to help the growers.

They have started with a Pre- Harvesting Loan Promotion on May 3- September 30.

“These growers obtain loans for harvesting needs go into draw to win -1st prize $100, 2nd $75 and 3rd $50 cash, which will be drawn on October 9,” said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma said growers have been coming to the offices and has been ensured to follow COVID-19 precautionary protocols.

District operational hours Districts offices-

  • Rakiraki, Tavua, Ba and Labasa operate normal operation.
  • Seaqaqa has four days of services – Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am to 1pm.
  • Lautoka and Nadi offices are open from 8am to 1pm and Sigatoka growers are serviced by Sugar Cane Growers Council Offices.

“The growers can call any of the district offices or in case of any urgency, contact us through our Facebook or even call me on 999127,” he said.

Key operational staff members from their head office are picked and dropped if they do not have transport.

Other staff members are working from home with full access to the system.

“This is to ensure we are providing our services well enough to help farmers prepare for the crushing season.

“All payments and approvals continue as normal.

“The safety of the staff and family is important but equally important is the need of financial assistance to the growers as or any service provider does now.

“We suspended or restricted farm inspection in the Western Division but in the North, we have continued on as normal as possible.”

Contingency plans

The Fund have well documented and partly activated constituency plans for operations.

“We would only not be able to provide desired essential services in the event there is complete lockdown and the banks close. Either than that we should be able to assist our growers.”

Loan applications

The trend of the applications received are as follows: Busiest had been Labasa and Seaqaqa districts followed by Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki as farmers have started preparing for the harvesting.

“We have also softened the approach on the default notices under the current situation. If the growers are having trouble repaying their loans, please call our District Loans Officers,” said Mr Sharma.

He said the prolong lockdowns would affect the industry and the harvesting programmes. However, Labasa may commence as schedule.

SCGF has also expedited its process for the online services through SCGF App of all necessary loan needs soon.

The crushing date for Lautoka Mill is June 14, Rarawai Mill is June 23 and Labasa Mill is July 7.

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj



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