THE Lautoka Farmers Carnival has assisted more than 500 students from underprivileged families since its inception in 2001, spending $325,000 in the process.
This was highlighted by divisional police commander West Senior Superintendent Salacieli Navilawasa who was chief guest at last Saturday's opening of the 2014 festival.
"This assistance has not only helped unfortunate families, it has also benefited society as a whole," he said.
Mr Navilawasa said while the government's free education and bus fare initiatives had brought relief to many households, equipping children for school was a continuing challenge for the poorest families.
He also acknowledged the contribution of the business sector and the people of the Sugar City towards the carnival.
"I understand this carnival has no major sponsor but the courage, determination and support of the community of Lautoka has enabled it to run successfully for 13 years."
Tonight is Youth Talent Night and the first public judging for the five contestants vying for the Miss Farmers Carnival crown.