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Issues irk farmers

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, July 18, 2014

LABOUR shortages, high labour costs and cane access road repairs are the main issues for canegrowers in the Western Division.

With just over two weeks of crushing at Lautoka and close to three weeks at Rarawai in Ba and Penang in Rakiraki, labour issues continue to plague growers' efforts to deliver cane consistently to all three mills.

Growers, however, have lauded the Fiji Sugar Corporation for the outstanding performance of the mills.

"Our members are very happy with the way cane crushing is progressing," Lautoka Cane Producers Association executive manager Arvin Singh said.

"However, the difficulties we face in regards to enticing labour and also meeting the high demands from labourers are the biggest issues we face at the moment."

The Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association said their main concern was the rehabilitation of cane access roads.

"We can see that work is being done in some areas while not much is being done in others and one area of concern is the Koronubu bridge bypass," association executive manager Sanjina Narain said.

About 60 farmers who produce in excess of 50,000 tonnes of cane were affected by a load limit placed on the bridge after it sustained significant damage from floodwaters caused by heavy rainfall earlier this year.

FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said work on a bypass at Koronubu was expected to be completed by the end of this month.

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