INCREASING mechanisation of all aspects of sugarcane farming is one of the most effective ways of addressing labour shortage issues in cane belt areas.
This was revealed to cane growers at an industry stakeholders' consultation held at Tagitagi near Tavua on Monday.
Tate and Lyle sugar consultant Dan Boodhna said he recognised that manpower was a major issue for majority of growers in the Western Division.
"Children are no longer interested in cane farming because it is hard work and they are opting for jobs in towns and cities," he said. This is why the industry is looking at mechanising as many processes as possible to address manpower issues in some areas."
Mr Boodhna said harvesters and labourers who lost work could be absorbed into areas where labour shortage was a critical issue and machines could not be used.