$2.8m boost for canegrowers

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, centre, during the handover of tractors and farming implements to FSC in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, centre, during the handover of tractors and farming implements to FSC in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THE country’s 12,000 sugarcane growers can look forward to reduced land preparation, cultivation and maintenance costs thanks to the handover of 30 Mahindra tractors by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to the Fiji Sugar Corporation yesterday morning.

The machinery and farming implements worth $2.8 million will be made available to farmers through the FSC’s sector offices.

“Today’s (yesterday) launch of the FSC tractors and implements fleet is a part of our extensive effort to mechanise cane farming, make life easier and better for our farmers and bring world-class tools to bear in our sugarcane industry,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“These 30 Mahindra 9500 92 horsepower four-wheel-drive tractors represent an investment of $2.8m from my government, and this investment is a key pillar of the FSC’s five-year plan to mechanise this industry, make life better and easier for our farmers, and make our sugar industry more competitive.

“These tractors will be hired out to farmers at minimum cost and will come with employed drivers trained to handle this equipment.

“So as a farmer, all you need to do is focus on your business, the business of farming cane, and let these tractors and drivers assist with land preparation and cane planting, and watch your production costs fall dramatically.”

While the majority of about 500 growers who turned up to witness the handover at the Lautoka Girmit Centre lauded the move, a prominent Ba farmer said the machines would not benefit all growers.

“Once again, farmers in hilly areas will lose out again because these machines will not be able to be operated in steep terrain,” said Naloto grower, Arun Sharma.

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