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Inmates to harvest sugar cane

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

INMATES from the Fiji Corrections Service earned about $200,000 from harvesting sugar cane last year.

They have made a commitment to assist the sugar industry by doing the same this time around.

West corrections supervisor Assistant Superintendent Jo Kulinidilo confirmed inmates from Natabua and Namosau corrections centres would be involved in harvesting this year.

"We are yet to ascertain the actual numbers but inmates will be assisting the industry in harvesting of cane," he said.

Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said the exercise had proven to be beneficial.

"Last year, inmates earned more than $200,000 from harvesting cane and we are looking at using their services again this year to meet the continuing labour issues the industry has been plagued with for some time now," he said.

"Inmates benefit by having something to take home once they have completed their sentence and the industry benefits by having a ready labour force."

Lt-Col Vaniqi said apart from using inmates to harvest cane, the push towards mechanising harvesting was being aided by an increase in the number of mechanical harvesters being brought into the country. Inmates were paid $15 per tonne for last year's harvest.

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