Fiji Time: 11:49 AM on Sunday 29 November

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Harvesters bring relief

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, July 19, 2014

THE introduction of mechanical harvesters has improved sugarcane supply to mills in the Western Division, says Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan.

He said while labour shortages continued to be an issue for growers in some areas, the onset of mechanisation had already begun to reap rewards.

"What we are seeing with the number of mechanical harvesters that are in operation in the West is that this has contributed to improved supply," Mr Khan said.

Sundresh Chetty, CEO of the Sugar Cane Growers Council, said while mechanisation remained the best solution to the labour issue, the cost of acquiring mechanical harvesters was making it a slow process.

"There is a lot of interest among growers but funding equipment which costs around $250,000 is a huge challenge.

"Nonetheless, we have seen a group of growers in Ba form a co-operative and purchase a harvester, which is expected to arrive next week.

"By working together, growers and industry stakeholders are slowly but surely addressing the labour issue in an integrated fashion."

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