THE cane supply for a group of farmers in Labasa has continued to decrease over the past five years as a result of sea water seeping into their land.
Cane farmer Nagappa Pillay said he used to produce more than 500 tonnes but this year he produced only 100 tonnes.
He said the damaged floodgates could not prevent sea water from entering his cane farms.
"The floodgates are not well-maintained and that's why sea water continues to penetrate our farms," Mr Pillay said.
"When it's high tide, the field is flooded with sea water and it's really frustrating because it's difficult to replant cane knowing it will only wither.
"I have a 20-acre farm and most of the cane was not sent to the mill because it was not fit for production."
He said the farmers visited the Labasa Drainage Board with their concerns but there had been little comfort.
Another farmer Shri Krishna shared similar sentiments, saying his tonnage had declined.
"Last year, a total of 647 tonnes of cane was crushed — this year only 518 tonnes was taken to the mill," he said.
"My 25-acre farm is near the sea and whenever there is high tide, I am the most affected farmer because sea water initially enters my farm before others."
Mr Krishna said it would be a relief if the authorities stepped in to maintain the floodgates.
In response, board secretary Gyan Chandra said they had received the farmers' complaints.
"What the farmers are currently experiencing is high water level in the drains and this is due to the current tidal levels, which are high and restrict the floodgates from opening when the tide recedes," Mr Chandra said.