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Sugar boost

Solomone Rabulu
Friday, February 02, 2018

THE Ministry of Sugar Industry has increased its fertiliser subsidy budget allocation from $9.7 million of its 2016 to 2017 financial year to $15.35 million this financial year.

Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said ever since 2009, the total price of a 50kg of fertiliser was $49.59 and Government was subsidising fertiliser costs with a subsidy of $14.09, while growers pay $31.50 per 50kg bag for blended fertilisers; blend A, B and C.

"Government identified that the farmers had not been applying recommended doses and volume of fertilisers on sugarcane farms, which is one of the reasons for the low yield," Mr Karan said.

"Thus to encourage and ensure that growers apply the recommended quantity of fertiliser in cane fields, the Government has further increased the subsidy from $14.09 to $25.5 per 50kg bag of fertiliser.

"This is an increase of 82 per cent in subsidy by Government when compared with the 2016 fiscal year." Mr Karan said, the farmers would pay now $20 per 50kg of fertiliser, 44 per cent of the $45.59 price per 50kg bag.

"Government pays $25.59 which is 56 per cent of the price per 50kg fertiliser," he said.

"Some farmers had purchased fertilisers early last year to apply it on cane plants that will be harvested during this year's season.

"Therefore, to ensure that all growers benefit equally from the new subsidised price consistent with 2018 crop calendar, government has backdated the new fertiliser subsidy rate from January 1, last year instead of August 1."

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