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More 'keen' to grow cane

Shayal Devi
Friday, March 02, 2018

THE Sugar Ministry says the industry is undergoing a revival with more people expressing interest to purchase land and plant cane.

Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said the recent interest was a complete turnaround from 2016, when farmers wanted to leave the industry.

"At that time they said sugar was not giving them a return and they were facing difficulties," he said.

"Now, I am receiving calls from people who want to buy cane fields.

"Even business professionals are keen to buy, and that was the whole idea of us getting behind the industry.

"We have seen so much enthusiasm and farmers now know that farming is feasible. This is a great turnaround because we are still not where the industry should be.

"The industry in other countries is heavily mechanised, their rail systems are working and mill systems are efficient — and we are doing our best to get there."

He said those looking after the industry in Fiji during its heyday should have reinvested.

Meanwhile, Mr Karan said consultations held during Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama's recent trip to the West were encouraging.

"These consultations are very important for the sugarcane industry because we are then able to reach out to people and understand what the issues are and put everybody, all the stakeholders, on their toes and we are able to iron them out immediately," Mr Karan said.

"During the last consultations, one of the top issues that came out was regarding land leases and we have taken every complaint and documented it in a report which will be tabled to Cabinet."

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