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A grower's desire for an industry leader

Luke Rawalai
Monday, June 19, 2017

THE sugar industry needs a leader who has love for humanity, country and has the interest of farmers and the sugar industry at heart.

These were the words of 76-year-old Solove retired schoolteacher and canefarmer Ram Karan, who retired from the teaching fraternity in 1998 thinking he would find peace on his sugarcane farm.

However, this was not true as he faced the reality of the challenges that had infested the sugar industry.

"I have had to exert more effort here at the farm to stay alive especially when I think that I have to make a living in an industry that maybe is in its waning period," Mr Karan said.

"I purchased our farm in 1994 when my seven children had married and left our home with caretaker taking care of the property for me before I finished my teaching career in 1998," he said.

"There are so many problems that have given many farmers restless nights and these include labour issues, the increasing costs of transportation and the expensiveness of keeping a farm," he said.

"My 53 acres farm that I have today is not fully laden with cane as I would have it in the past when it would yield 1200 tonnes of cane."

Mr Karan said he was expecting 500 tonnes of cane from his harvest this year, adding that money derived from this harvest would keep his head afloat into the next cane crushing season.

"We live in an age where it is hard to find real friends that matter. We have politicians that come about promising us all our dreams and once they get elected into parliament they act like they do not know us," he said.

"I have so much faith in this industry to say or even think that it may be approaching the brink of its existence.

"This is time more than ever that the industry needs dedicated people to lead the industry into its revitalisation."

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