Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi told The Fiji Times last night talks are in progress to involve prisoners to harvest cane in case of a severe labour shortage.
This is after some farmers in the north said securing labourers was still a challenge.
The situation has forced most farmers to hire villagers from as far as Cakaudrove and Bua costing them a lot of money.
"Government understand that harvesting of sugar requires a lot of manpower, therefore we are looking at other alternatives on how this cane farmers can be assisted," Lt-Col Vaniqi said.
He met with Fiji Corrections Service Commissioner Lt-Col Ifereimi Vasu last week to discuss the matter.
National Farmers Union president Surendra Lal said most farmers were still in the process of making arrangements for labourers.
"It's not easy organising labourers as farmers have to fork out more from their pockets to bring the workers over from their villages," Mr Lal said.
"We first have to look around in villages near the farms but it has been a common knowledge where those who live in town areas don't like working on farms," he said.
"This kind of situation has forced farmers to look for gang from rural areas and they have to pay for high transportation cost to bring the labourers in," he added.
Farmer Hamendra Prasad, who lives in Wailevu outside Labasa, faces a similar problem.
"I am now organising the labourers from a village in Bua and the carrier fare is $300 so that is the first type of payment I have to make during this harvesting season. Organising labourers is not easy because we have to keep calling the village to ask for how many villagers are willing to come and harvest cane," Mr Prasad said.
"I have tried talking to villagers in my area but they have no interest."
A farmer from Batinikama, Vimlesh Chand, said securing a harvesting gang was easy as they accepted the conditions he offered.
"My group is very easy. They don't choose expensive food and they come from their home every day," Mr Chand said.