WHILE 104 sugarcane growers celebrated the grant of a 30-year extension to their leases in Ba yesterday, Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki reminded them of their responsibility to the industry.
"We have achieved a lot but there is still a lot more work that needs to be done," he said.
Cdr Cawaki said 2010 was the worst season for the sugar industry in Fiji. "Things picked up in 2011 and this year we have seen a huge improvement in our mills but the same can't be said for cane production. Our four mills have the capacity to crush 4.5 million tonnes.
"This season we will only manage 1.6 million and that is not good enough. I hope you will utilise these new leases and plant more cane for the benefit of your family, your community, the industry and our country," Cdr Cawaki said.
Seru Vuralika from the Committee for the Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL) urged the Koronubu and Veisaru growers to work with the industry stakeholders, the Sugar Cane Growers Fund, Sugar Research Institute of Fiji, Sugar Industry Tribunal, South Pacific Fertilizers, Fiji Sugar Corporation, Sugar Cane Growers Council and Sugar Ministry, to improve farming methods and boost yield.