Growers assured of Government support

SUGARCANE growers have been assured of Government’s continued support for the industry into the future.

Sugar Ministry director Sanjay Kumar also said Government’s unprecedented allocation in the 2017-2018 National Budget, and aid programs in terms of providing financial support to secure mechanical harvesters and other implements, would be ongoing.

“The Government is focused on reviving the industry as can be seen in its contribution to planting grants and fertiliser and weedicide subsidies,” he said.

“This year our budget increased from $27 million to $60m — more than double.

“And through the formation of cooperatives, Government allocated $2m where 21 cooperatives were assisted in the purchase of mechanical harvesters.

“This year Government will give more aid in terms of tractors with implements with essential items such as planters and fertiliser applicators.”

Mr Kumar added that Government was playing a key role in ensuring issues facing the industry are given priority.

“This year our focus is to improve production and this can only be achieved by our growers and FSC driving the planting initiatives.

“Last year, climate had affected production and planting was delayed.

“What we have done, in consultation with stakeholders, was extend the planting period to December so that farmers were able to plant and make the most of the grant that was available.

“For the future, Government will continue its support in terms of the current assistance that is being given and we will also be looking at new ways to assist as well.”