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Standover prediction

Salaseini Moceiwai
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

RAIL gangs in Macuata predict they will have standover cane again this year as a result of the late arrival of rail trucks to their farms.

Speaking on behalf of the farmers, National Farmers Union president Surendra Lal said farmers were already struggling to transport their cane crops to the mill on time.

"The farmers are worried they might have standover cane again this crushing season," Mr Lal said.

"This has been a problem over the past years and with the late arrival of rail trucks, the farmers anticipate a high tonnage of cane to be left uncrushed on the field.

"It has also been brought to my attention that cane crops are now being left on the field for three to four days before a rail truck arrives on a particular farm.

"The farmers depend on their farms for their livelihoods but if this problem continues to happen, they will earn less."

Mr Lal said they had also been informed that the Labasa mill closed down over the weekend because of shortage of cane supply.

"The farmers have harvested their cane but for the rail gang, the problem lies on the consistency of the arrival of rail truck to their farms."

He said there were not enough rail trucks available to cater for the rail gangs.

"Canefarmers in Daku, Wainikoro, Bucaisau and Waiqele depend on these trucks for transportation and with this problem, they are worried they won't have enough profit this season."

FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan earlier said they were working closely with the farmers to have their crops delivered to the mill on time.

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