SUGARCANE growers unhappy with the manner in which standover cane payments were processed by the Fiji Sugar Corporation have been urged to make their views known to the sugar ministry.
Permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said it was important that the assessments for standover cane were done in a fair manner and growers that deserved to be compensated received their just dues.
If a grower feels that he has been unfairly treated then he should write to me in detail and outline why he believes he should be compensated and we will look into it, Lt-Col Vaniqi said.
FSC executive chairmen Abdul Khan called on disgruntled growers to raise grievances with the corporation if they felt the assessments were unfairly conducted.
In terms of the assessment process, this is no different to that conducted in the past. If any farmer feels differently, he or she is welcome to register his or her query and we will go through each and everyone of them, Mr Khan said.
Meanwhile, Lt-Col Vaniqi said it was important that farmers advised him of the difficulties they faced so that the sugar ministry was aware of issues and could assist in addressing them.
That is why this ministry was formed. This is where we can consummate all the difficulties that stakeholders face and see what kind of policies can be formulated to address issues raised. However, it is important that the ministry be made aware of issues that growers face so that we can help, Lt-Col Vaniqi said.
The Fiji Cane Growers Association general secretary Bala Dass raised the standover cane payment issue saying farmers were disappointed with the manner in which the FSC had assessed and processed the compensation payout.
We are the biggest stakeholders in the industry and yet, not even one farmer was consulted on the criteria for standover cane payment. In fact, we have absolutely no idea how FSC made the assessments or the criteria used, he said.
The FSC made a commitment to pay $7 per tonne as compensation for harvestable standover cane from the 2011 season.
The payment was made on May 24 this year. Standover cane is harvestable crop left in fields at the end of the official crushing season that could not be processed because of logistical or other issues.