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Plant more cane, urges Bainimarama

Felix Chaudhary
Sunday, February 18, 2018

GOVERNMENT hopes sugar industry incentives introduced last year will bring about a renewed interest in cane planting on the 30,000 hectares of idle land previously used for sugarcane cultivation.

Prime Minister and Sugar Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the amount of funding and aid allocated to reinvigorate cane production was unprecedented.

He made the comment while addressing about 500 people at sugar industry consultations at the Sugar Cane Growers Council hall in Lautoka earlier this week.

"We've set aside nearly $16 million for the Cane Replanting Program, and that major funding increase has led to 5671 hectares planted in 2017 compared with 3900 last year," he said.

"Still, our reports indicate that we have 30,000 hectares of land that remains idle or under-utilised, so I encourage all of you to take advantage of this grant to plant more cane."

He urged farmers and those interested in entering the industry to take up the incentives on offer.

"My Government introduced the fertiliser subsidy in 2009, and in the last budget we've made that subsidy even more generous, lowering the price paid by our famers to only $20 per bag, and we've seen a fertiliser sale increase of nearly 40 per cent since January last year.

"So keep taking advantage of this great subsidy."

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