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Idle farms targeted

Shayal Devi
Monday, January 29, 2018

SUGAR Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan says they have started looking at ways idle farms can be used to plant more cane and boost production.

He said the ministry collected data for all farms in the country that once produced sugar cane.

"We had this data to show how many farms were in operation and how many farms have remained idle for years," he said.

"So we're coming back to them to tell them what's going to happen.

"We are going to relook at the lease.

"If people are holding on to the lease, particularly the crown lease, whether it could be transferred to someone who wants to do farming."

He said the ministry had introduced a new farming initiative in partnership with the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC).

"There is a new model we have introduced with FSC.

"If the landlord or landowner does not want to lease their land to someone, what they can do is get in partnership with FSC.

"FSC will plant cane on your land, they'll invest into all the costs that are involved — from production to harvesting and transportation of the cane. Once the proceeds are received, they will deduct all costs and give landowners the profits."

Mr Karan said there were a few companies and landowners who had signed on to this model.

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