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Fiji Time: 11:26 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Farmers rep vows to fix it

Avinesh Gopal
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A REPRESENTATIVE of sugarcane farmers wants to solve their problems if he wins the general election and becomes a parliamentarian.

In particular, Bala Dass wants to solve the land leasing problem because he says it is affecting cane production in the country.

Mr Dass is the Fiji Cane Growers Association's general secretary and he has confirmed he will be a candidate for the National Federation Party in the September general election.

"Being a sugarcane farmers' representative, I want to see their long-time problems solved if I win and get into parliament," he said.

"Sugarcane farmers have been ignored from a long time and their problems have not been solved, in particular the land problem.

"Land leases for sugarcane farming continue to expire in the Western and Northern divisions and farmers are in limbo over their future."

Mr Dass also said that Fiji's sugar industry cannot survive by producing between 1.4 and 1.6 million tonnes of cane a year.

He said there was an urgent need to boost sugarcane production to between 3.5 and 4 million tonnes annually.

"We need to bring back the confidence in farmers and the only way this can be done is if the land leasing issue is solved.

"If I win the general election, then I want to go to parliament and find a permanent solution for farmers.

"And I also believe that farmers should not pay the premium for the land they lease but instead, it should be paid by the government."


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