SUNBIZ

New Variety To Boost Sugar Content

As part of the cane planting grant in the new budget provision, one producing grower will qualify for a maximum of two and a half acres.
15 Sep 2022 14:00
New Variety To Boost Sugar Content
field-of-sugar-cane

The new sugarcane variety, Seed Cane, will help boost sugar production in Lautoka. This was highlighted by Fiji Sugar Corporation cane development manager, Timoci Sila, while speaking to about 30 sugarcane farmers in Drasa yesterday.

The farmers convened at the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji in Drasa, Lautoka to discuss the new Cane Planting Grant given by the Government for planting of seed cane.

Mr Sila said an awareness drive was carried out to farmers in all sectors of the Lautoka mill.

 

“Creating awareness on this planting and promotion drive was in line with the cane development plan and the grant that had just been approved by the Government in the current financial year.”

The Government approved a $1 million grant.

“We explained the policy and objectives of this new grant to the farmers and at the same time, on the things that they needed to know about the utilization and uptake of this grant,” Mr Sila said.

 

Challenges

With the many challenges faced at the moment within the sugar industry, Mr Sila is optimistic that the awareness drive would assist sugarcanes farmers in their production come next year.

One of these challenges is weather.

“We can see that it is very dry at the moment and it is not conducive for planting but if farmers still want to plant, it’d be best to irrigate those fields so that the cane germinates.”

Fiji Sugar Corporation Cane Development Manager, Timoci Sila speaking to Drasa sector sugarcane farmers. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga-Tuisawau

Fiji Sugar Corporation Cane Development Manager, Timoci Sila speaking to Drasa sector sugarcane farmers. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga-Tuisawau

The second challenge is the availability of seed cane for these early maturing varieties.

“We are asking growers to be patient. If you have growers within your locality that have got this early maturity variety you can use that,” he said.

Lastly, is the cost to plant one acre of seed canes. Taking into account the increase in fuel price and demand by the labourers, Mr Sila said, before, to plant one acre of cane would cost $1,200, now it costs $1,600.

 

Teidamu sugarcane farmer, Peni Barinisavu was pleased with the awareness drive however said it would also come with its challenges.

“Right now the mana seed cane is what helps with our production. So with the new variety being introduced it will require a lot of machinery,” Mr Barinisavu said.

“It’s the machinery that most of us do not have and it would be great if the stakeholders would assist us in this too.”

 

Right Resources

Mr Barinisavu said with the right resources and assistance, farmers would be able to make it work with the new variety of seed cane.

As part of the cane planting grant in the new budget provision, one producing grower will qualify for a maximum of two and a half acres.

“Two and half acres means $1,500 per acre and the minimum is $600 per acre that farmers will receive,” Mr Sila said.

 

“If growers would like to plant more than two and a half acres or one hectare and they need financial assistance, Growers Fund is willing to assist them with the Cane Development Revolving Fund (CDRF) package which is 0% interest.”

Mr Sila added that farmers were encouraged to plan their work in advance so that come next year around March, the field would be ready.

The seed can be harvested from the nurseries. Stakeholders like the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji, Sugar Cane Growers Fund, Sugar Cane Growers Council and the Assistant Minister for Sugar, George Vegnathan were present at the awareness drive. The grant time frame officially starts on August 1, 2022 until July 31, 2023.

 

Feedback: kelera.sovasiga@fijisun.com.fj



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