CALLS have been made for a need to have a mechanical harvester in Rakiraki to avoid standover cane this season.
Rakiraki Cane Lorry Operators president Mahesh Prasad said cane growers there had been hit hard by the lack of cane cutters.
He said farmers were worried about cane left unharvested.
"The farmers are concerned with the lack of cane cutters which has left most cane farms unattended to," said Mr Prasad.
"We're worried that standover cane will be a problem because of the shortage of cane cutters. There is no mechanical harvester in Rakiraki and we would be glad if this service is provided."
Authorities in Rakiraki also highlighted the unhygienic environment most cane cutters live in during the harvesting season which may be a contributing factor to shortage in their numbers.
Ra provincial administrator Sitiveni Tavaga said a government team in Ra evicted three cane cutters' families because of unhealthy living standards.
He said the families lived in houses without proper water supply.
"Even some evicted families don't have proper toilets which is one of the reasons we evicted them. We're concerned with the Fiji Sugar Corporation's target and at the same time we need to consider the impact of living in an unhygienic environment," he said.
Mr Tavaga called on growers to provide better living conditions for the cane cutters.
"Government is urging growers to treat the issue sensibly and look after the welfare of the labourers.
"The success of any cane farmer requires the support of all stakeholders," Mr Tavaga said.