MORE than 200 cane growers in the Western Division have received lease renewals for 30 years and more are expected in 2013.
This was revealed by the acting chief executive officer at the Sugar Cane Growers Council, Sundresh Chetty.
Since the government — through the Sugar Ministry — announced the lease extension program in November last year, industry stakeholders have noted an increase in the number of farmers keen to take up sugarcane farming again.
"This is very encouraging from our point of view and signals a very bright future for the industry going forward.
"While the focus of renewals has been for the Ba district and for cane growers from Veisaru and Koronubu in particular, we are also negotiating renewals for other districts on a case by case basis," he said.
Mr Chetty said the lease issue was highlighted during a roadshow conducted by sugar industry stakeholders to encourage farmers to take up interest free loans from the Cane Development Revolving Fund (CDRF).
"We noticed that growers were not interested in investing or planting new crops because of the imminent expiry of their leases," said Mr Chetty.