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Gang system offers labour cost relief

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, June 19, 2017

THE shortage of canecutters has forced many farmers to use the gang system to ease labour costs.

Under the system labourers are not hired with canefarmers instead cutting their own cane by working in a group or in their own gang within the same area.

Known as 'solesolevaki' in the iTaukei communities, farmers in the northern part of Macuata have used this system because of its positive impact.

At Nasasasa, four farmers of Gang 46 have done this system over the past three years.

"It's much cheaper, easier and a lot faster because we work according to a program that we have all greed on," said Jaynendra Lal, a gang member.

"So we have three rounds of harvesting and in the first round, we have to cut 50 per cent of cane from every member's farm.

"In the second and third rounds, we cut 25 per cent each for both harvesting rounds and it has worked well for us. We don't have to hire labourers and we save money too."

Ravinesh Prakash, another farmer, described the system to be effective.

"Our own wives cook our food and they also have their turns to prepare meals for the farmers," he said.

"There are five of us in this Gang 46 team and each farmer prepares morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea for us when we are harvesting his cane.

"It's fair and everyone agrees on the same condition and we are all happy."

In Wainikoro, Gang 32 has done the same.

Ajend Kumar said it was better than hiring labourers.

"We save money and that's the good thing about this system because don't have to buy so much food and grog for labourers," he said.

"We have been using this system for the past two years and the shortage of labourers has also provided us the opportunity to do this system."

The gang system has become popular in the northern part of Macuata because they also don't have any harvesting machines to help speed up harvesting.

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