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Fiji Time: 6:29 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Labour shortage

Serafina Silaitoga
Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A GROUP of canefarmers who met US ambassador Frankie Reed yesterday raised their concern over the shortage of harvest labourers faced every year.

The farmers at Waiqele, outside Labasa Town, told Ms Reed of the persisting problem.

One of the farmers, Satish Chand, said labour shortage had become severe that some farmers could not even recruit any.

He said this was not a problem in the past.

"Today it is getting worse and we always struggle to find the labourers so most of the time we have to cut the cane ourselves," he said.

"Transporting cane is another issue when we don't have trucks so we are lucky to also have locomotives that take our cane to the mill."

Ms Reed was also told by Labasa mill chief engineer Vilikesa Vatubuli that iTaukei cane labourers attended church on Sundays so the harvest was usually delayed.

He also told Ms Reed that this year, the mill experienced 228 hours of operation compared with 226 hours last year.