$100k to fund welfare programs

Ellington Sector II Lorry drivers Iliesa Tovolea (left) with Isoa Gavidi wait for their call at Marine Drive in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Lautoka Cane Producers Association has set aside $100,000 to fund welfare programs for its 4400 members.

President Parbindar Singh said assistance would be given to fund overseas medical treatment, dialysis and heart surgery.

“We are also delivering wheelchairs and walkers to aged growers who are in need,” he said.

“A lot of our members are struggling and without our help they would have faced a lot of difficulty in living dignified lives in their old age.

“We looked at the information from our needs assessment forms and tailored our welfare assistance to address the most common problems.”

One of the wheelchair recipients, Lalla Prasad from Lomawai sector, Nadi, said he was very grateful for the assistance.

The 78-year-old has been a canegrower all his life.

He suffers from diabetes, kidney issues and hypertension.

Mr Prasad said the wheelchair would give him mobility in his old age.

Despite a reduction in earnings from the sale of Fairtrade certified sugar over the past few years, the Lautoka Cane Producers Association has managed to fund community programs through the hire of three mechanical harvesters.

Last season the association earned $357,000 from machine hire, out of which $200,000 was used for loan repayments.

The mechanical harvesters were bought through investments made by the members.