PLANTING cane for farmers on Vanua Levu has been made easier with the introduction of a mechanical planter by the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC).
The machine will also help farmers save money from paying labourers who used to clear, plough fields and plant sugar cane.
Yesterday, a farmer in Vunimoli outside Labasa Town was all smiles after he planted cane on his three-acre land using the planter.
Mohammed Sarif said apart from the long time of planting, the high cost of labourers was also an issue most farmers had to bear with in order to increase their cane production.
"I saw the planter being used in Lautoka before I moved to Labasa so I approached the Labasa mill manager to help me use it here for the benefit of my crop production," Mr Sarif said.
"Before, I used to spend at least $600 to hire labourers to help me plant within six days and now I am only spending $50 for fuel and $30 to hire three labourers."
The planter, Mr Sarif said, was multi-tasked because it cut cane seedlings, applied fertiliser and buried the seeds on the allocated lanes.
He thanked FSC for its assistance and requested more planters for the farmers.
FSC Labasa mill manager Karia Christopher said this was the first planter for the North.
"With the introduction of this machine, farmers will be motivated to plant more and this can result to an increase in sugar production in the coming year," Mr Christopher said.