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Fiji Time: 7:36 PM on Friday 25 April

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$8m payout

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, January 17, 2014

ABOUT $8million was paid out to 13,000 sugarcane farmers on Wednesday to prepare their children for school.

Sugarcane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty said the farmers expressed gratitude for the special payment.

"Yes, we distributed close to $8million to farmers yesterday and they were quite happy with the assistance," Mr Chetty said.

He said each farmer was paid $5 per tonne for the 2013 crushing season.

"There was about 1.6million tonnes produced during the 2013 crushing season and for every tonne each farmer was paid $5.

"This was something the government wanted to do for the growers while they prepare for the new school year.

"While government is offering free school fees this year, many of the farmers are still struggling with the payment of school uniforms and stationery."

Mr Chetty said sugarcane farmers were not the only recipients of the payout.

"The money also goes to labourers and cane cutters employed by the farmers.

"So, the money will be paid to each active grower and they will pay their workers."

Lautoka farmer Suresh Chand was one of the fortunate farmers who received the payout this week.

"This money will go towards paying for my son's stationery and for things that he will need for school," he said.

The Lovu-based farmer said he managed to harvest about 130 tonnes of sugar cane last year.

"Although it was good, it is still less than what we harvested last year but that was because of the cyclone, but I hope that things will improve in the next season."