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Programs to enhance earnings

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, June 13, 2014

SUGAR industry stakeholders were informed during a workshop on Monday in Lautoka that programs implemented by the Secretariat for the Pacific Community in the cane belt areas were not designed to compete with sugar production.

Sairusi Bulai, acting deputy director of the SPC's Land Resources Division, said the EU's improvement of key services to agriculture project was not set up to compete with sugar but rather to enhance farmers earning ability.

"IKSA has the challenging task of convincing some of the stakeholders that we were not competing with the sugar sector," he said.

"Instead the focus is to support sugarcane farmers by enhancing income from their land through the integration into their cropping system of selected horticultural crops which are currently in demand in the export markets.

"And in this endeavour, we work very closely with the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Ministry of Agriculture."

Under the SPC project, farmers are encouraged to plant leguminous plants on land not utilised for cane farming to supplement income and improve soil quality on their farms.

Representatives from the Sugar Cane Growers Council, FSC, Sugar Cane Growers Fund, Sugar Industry Tribunal, Agriculture Ministry, International Trade Centre and iTaukei Land Trust Board attended the forum, the first gathering of the sugar and non-sugar sectors in the country.

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