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Fiji Time: 11:03 AM on Thursday 17 April

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Growers welcome mechanisation

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SUGARCANE growers in the Western Division say they are looking forward to more mechanised harvesting in the 2014 season.

Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association president Gyan Singh said members of his organisation fully supported the industry stakeholders' moves to mechanise harvesting as part of the Sugar Strategic Action Plan.

"Our members faced acute labour shortages this season, so we fully support this move," he said.

"As it is, farmers waste a lot of time and money running around trying to entice harvesters.

"We want to see the day when harvesting becomes a pleasure and not the painful exercise it currently is."

Lautoka Cane Producers Association executive manager Arvin Singh said mechanising harvesting would allow for quicker delivery of cane.

"More mechanical harvesters could be used on flat land and manual labourers could be used on hillsides where mechanical harvesters can't be used," he said.

FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said a critical factor in bringing in mechanical harvesters was ensuring they were the most suitable for Fiji's hilly terrain.

The Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association has a membership of about 7000 while the Lautoka association has 5100 members.