TWO of the biggest issues facing growers in the sugar industry, harvesting and transportation, have been given top priority by the Fiji Sugar Corporation.
This was the word from FSC representative Mahend Prasad to sugarcane growers attending industry consultations at Tagitagi in Tavua on Monday.
"We have identified a number of ways to address these issues and we are working hard to ensure that costs to growers are reduced so that cane farming becomes more profitable and people stay committed to the industry," he said.
Mr Prasad said some initiatives being put in place included the demarcation of priority production zones, increasing harvesting mechanisation, regulation of cane lorries, development of the rail system, establishment of trans-loading stations and access road development programs.
"Through increased mechanisation, harvesting costs can be reduced," he said.
"This will become more apparent after we conduct surveys to ascertain the actual cost of operating mechanical harvesters in Fiji.
"With the introduction of more machinery, farmers will have to ensure there are access ways for these machines onto and off the field. In terms of transportation, the railway network has been given priority because it is the cheapest mode of transportation.
"In the past, 70 per cent of all cane in Tagitagi was transported via rail. This has been reduced to 30 per cent."