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New strategy pays off

Jone Kalouniviti
Saturday, March 29, 2014

SECOND generation canefarmer Arun Sharma says the Fiji Sugar Corporation's new approach of visiting farmers regularly is slowly paying dividends.

Mr Sharma, who owns 40 acres at Naloto in Ba, said FSC workers have been visiting their farms for two years now.

He said the new cane quality payment system to come into effect in July would only work if farmers were educated on the more suitable cane varieties.

"There was a big disconnect between farmers and the FSC before, we did not even know who our extension officers were," said Mr Sharma.

"I am glad that has changed now, there is more dialogue now and awareness programs for us."

Mr Sharma has become the first farmer to introduce the LF-91, aiwa and kiuva cane breed in the Naloto area with a one-acre testing plantation site.

"I farm 90 per cent mana variety which is good cane but matures later than the LF-91 which FSC is trying to encourage in Ba."

The LF-91 was introduced in 2006 but has not been acquired by farmers in the area who are more accustomed to the mana variety of cane.

"The mana variety usually matures in October whereas the LF-91 matures in June and July and offers same sugar content and quality which will augur well for the new quality cane payment system."

At an FSC organised field day this week for the Naloto and Moto sectors, extension officers took about 80 farmers through the motions of quality husbandry preparation, seed selection, proper use of weedicides and fertilisers, and also what tools to use.





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