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Chand Grateful For Ease Of Financial Burden

Sarat Chand, 60, says owning an 11-acre sugarcane farm at Drasa, Lautoka has always been a challenge. However, he was grateful that the Government was easing his financial burden with the recent incentives announced for sugarcane farmers in the Revised 2021-2022 National Budget.
27 Mar 2022 19:02
Chand Grateful For Ease Of Financial Burden
Sarat Chand, 60, at his sugarcane farm at Drasa, Lautoka. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Sarat Chand, 60, says owning an 11-acre sugarcane farm at Drasa, Lautoka has always been a challenge.

However, he was grateful that the Government was easing his financial burden with the recent incentives announced for sugarcane farmers in the Revised 2021-2022 National Budget.

The Budget was announced by the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on March 24.

Mr Chand said his family had owned a sugarcane farm for more than 60 years and he has been able to provide for his four children from the income generated.

“I’m happy that we will pay only $20 for the fertiliser because I would purchase 75 bags of fertiliser normally for two rounds,” he said.

“My farm is 11 acres and my father owned it, but he passed away in 1992 and I took over from there.”

Normally he harvests about 400 tonnes of sugarcane in six months.

“Hardships are faced during the hurricane season and flood time; the water comes into the farm. We have to put in more time, but I hire three to four labourers and pay $20 a day so they work sometimes for one week or a month.”

The father of four children said he also planted bean, cassava and rourou (taro leaves) which he sells at the Lautoka Market.

“I’ve been selling vegetables for about 20 years and I’m happy Government is supporting us also with assistance for that,” he said

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Government would provide an allocation of $500,000 to support cane growers who seek to convert their sugarcane leases to agricultural leases to plant other crops or even for a 99-year residential lease.

“The average age of a cane farmer is 59.

There are some older farmers who also want to give up farming and retire or move away from sugarcane farming into other, more lucrative crops. They also will have the option to use a portion of their land and apply for a residential lease,” he said.



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