CANE growers will receive grants from the government to hasten the replanting and rehabilitation programs.
The announcement by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama on Tuesday will bring relief to sugarcane farmers, many of whom have had cane fields destroyed or inundated with debris and water.
In approving the aid package, Commodore Bainimarama emphasised the urgent need to rehabilitate cane farms and the sugar industry as quickly as possible.
"We must ensure these farmers have every opportunity to quickly replant crops and are not tied down by financial burdens," he said.
Under the assistance program, growers who have lost their total crop will receive a grant of $2500 per hectare or $1000 per acre.
Farmers who have lost a portion of their crop will receive a similar grant only for the destroyed cane crop area.
The government has also revamped assistance to all cane growers seeking funding through the Cane Development Revolving Fund (CDRF).
Under a new arrangement, farmers who take the interest-free loan will only be required to repay 50 per cent to the CDRF.
Sugar Cane Growers Council acting CEO Sundresh Chetty said the grant announcement was a big boost for farmers, many of whom were finding great difficulty rehabilitating their cane fields.
"This is a huge relief for the growers and we urge farmers to come forward and take advantage of this provision," he said.
Mr Chetty said the grant would not be given out as a lump sum payment but paid out in stages after the completion of a verification process.
"Twenty-five per cent will be given upfront for land preparation and after verification by field officers, a further 25 per cent will be paid out for planting with the balance released once planting is completed," he said.
The Sugar Ministry has estimated that approximately 2100 hectares will be planted through the assistance scheme ù 500 hectares through the grant and a further 1600 hectares through the joint grant and CDRF.