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From pastoral to sugar

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, February 09, 2013

LAND belonging to Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited (YPCL) could soon be used for cane farming if negotiations with the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) are settled.

Guided by Tarte and Lyle — Fiji's longest standing sugar buyer — YPCL chairman Peter Drysdale said the joint venture would increase their seed-cane on better flat lands. "We have already planted about five hectares of seed-cane which is a very important way that we can contribute to the cane industry by providing seed-cane of the new varieties," he said.

But he said FSC was interested in commercial scale expansion by planting 18 hectares on better lands. He said the plan this year was to assure the joint venture was successful.

"We have been asked to plant about seven hectares of seed-cane at Caboni sector, the cane farming area in Ra," he said.

"The good thing about that is we don't have the harvesting cost.

"We get the yield without the harvesting cost because the farmers come in and do their own harvest and take it away for seed-cane." He said this had been successful and they were looking forward to increasing or upscaling on a commercial basis. And the initial 18 hectares of flat land at Yaqara was earmarked for commercial cane growing.

Mr Drysdale said negotiations continued on the joint initiative.

FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said plans were in progress for part of the pastoral estate to be converted to a cane field.

"This is part of FSC identifying good land for sugarcane farms," Mr Khan said, adding that majority of the planned works were finalised.

Mr Khan said they would finalise details before next month when the planting season began.

In terms of future projects, he said they would increase cane and sheep herd.

As one of the most important breeding stock in the country, he said they had been restricted from selling breed and live cattle to prevent tuberculosis and brucellosis.





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