HARVESTING rice has been made easier for two farmers at Vunika outside Labasa Town with the use of a private combine harvester machine owned by a local businessman.
Kandsami Naicker and Kesh Lal have for the past years depended on manpower to help them, something they found difficult because most of their labourers were hesitant to work in the farm for long hours.
Thanks to Simmon Singh, the owner of Mershadan Farms in Vanua Levu, the pair was able to harvest their rice farms yesterday.
Speaking on their behalf, Mr Naicker said they initially approached the Department of Agriculture in the north where they were directed to Mershadan Farms.
"It usually takes us weeks to complete harvesting but with the use of this machine, it only takes one-day," Mr Naicker said.
"So far, we are able to harvest 10 tonnes of rice paddy and it is absolutely a relief because we are not exhausted.
"We thank the Department of Agriculture and Mershadan Farms for their help now that we can harvest our rice on time without more complications," he said.
Mr Singh said he had been assisting farmers throughout Vanua Levu with his machines for the past three years.
"There is shortage of labour in the agriculture sector and the machines I have are really helping a lot of farmers," he said.
"There are about 20 more farmers who have requested for my assistance and I charge them a reasonable rate.
"I am willing to help farmers with this machine and I can also personally train them on how to use it."