Fiji Time: 12:28 AM on Thursday 8 October

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$24,000 goes up in flames

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, May 30, 2014

THE burning of at least 400 tonnes of cane worth $24,000 in the Western Division this week is a cause of worry for farmers and the industry with the harvesting season set to begin next month.

Drasa East advisory councillor Sheik Sahib said at least two farmers in Naviyago, Lautoka, witnessed sugar cane on their farms go up in flames.

"It is really disheartening for the farmers after they had put in so much hard work," he said.

"We are thankful to the police and National Fire Authority for their quick response and helping to keep the fires from spreading.

"Some of these farmers have taken loans and managed to keep their farms afloat.

"Many of them are now wondering what will happen to their farms.

"Farmers now have to pay for labour to clean the farms and they will have to start re-planting cane.

"We are now working with police to put a stop to the burning of sugar cane."

West police media liaison officer Naina Ragigia said two weeks ago police started Operation Vakamadovu, where officers were deployed to red zone areas.

"We started this operation in Lomawai and Cuvu in Sigatoka and so far it has been a success, arson cases have dropped significantly," said Ms Ragigia.

FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said the industry was working with police and local communities to ensure vandalism was reduced.

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