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Discipline to unlock potential

Saturday, February 22, 2014

DISCIPLINE has to be brought back into sugarcane farming if the industry is to realise its full potential going into the future, says FSC extension services manager Samuela Railoa.

Speaking to about 100 canegrowers at Lomawai near Sigatoka on Tuesday, Mr Railoa said the decline in production over the past seven years was unprecedented and more effort had to be put in to stem the slide.

"There are many reasons why cane production has declined," he said.

"In 2006 we produced 3.2million tonnes of cane with an average yield of 59 tonnes per hectare, and this has gone down over the years to 1.6 million tonnes produced last year where the average yield was between 40 to 45 tonnes per hectare.

"One of the biggest contributors is the fact that many growers are using ratoons that are 25 to 30 years old.

"Farmers have stopped doing crop rotation and many good farming practices observed in the past are not being done today and this has to be reviewed or revisited."

Industry stakeholders including Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty are conducting a series of consultations with growers in the West over the next few weeks.

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