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Plan to lure farmers

Maciu Malo
Monday, April 01, 2013

THE Sugar Industry Tribunal is working hard to attract more new farmers to invest in the sugar industry.

Tribunal commissioner Timothy Brown said the vision of the industry was to lift the image of the sugar industry to another level.

Mr Brown said the industry had been working tirelessly with the introduction of many new machines and technology to bring back farmers who had left the industry.

He said he was hopeful that more farmers would join the industry this year.

"For the past three years, a total of 510 farmers have joined the industry adding the total number of farmers to 15,958," he said.

"The sugar industry strategic plan addresses many of the issues confronted by growers and millers.

"Our vision is to bring this industry back to its glory days."

Mr Brown said of the more than 15,000 farmers, only 3151 were iTaukei while Fijians of Indian descent recorded 12,691 and 106 were others.

"The industry has put together a strategic action plan that we hope will attract farmers to the sugar industry," he said.

Sugar Cane Growers Council (SCGC) chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty said there were many reasons for the reduction of cane farmers compared to 20 years ago. Mr Reddy said the council had mapped out means and ways to attract more farmers.

"Our aim now is to attract these farmers and to give them the confidence that the sugar industry is here to stay," he said.

"The government is committed to assist farmers by providing various forms of assistance and latest technologies to help in the overall cane production.

"We are working closely with the government, Fiji Sugar Corporation and other stakeholders to improve the cane and sugar production."

Mr Chetty urged landowners who were interested in investing in the industry to seek the assistance of the council in getting new farmers to cultivate idle land.





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