$6.1m grant

Ministry of Sugar Industry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan opening the new crushing season at the Labasa mill yesterday morning, June 10, 2020. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

A total of $6.1 million grant was provided by Ministry of Sugar to assist growers affected by TC Yasa to enable them to undertake rehabilitation works.

Permanent secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karan said through these funds a total of 255 hectares of cane were replanted, debris from 9548 hectares of farms were removed and more than 724,065 meters of drainage works were undertaken.

Mr Karan said 34,234 bags of fertilizer, 26,104 kg of Diuron and 26,104 litres of amine were provided to affected farmers at no cost.

“In addition to the assistance provided by government, Sugar Cane Growers Fund developed an easy and affordable finance facility specifically for rehabilitation works associated with TC Yasa under two broad categories in priority loan and specialized loan.

“Priority loans were provided to those growers who required minimum amount while specialised loan were offered to those grower who had major damage to the dwelling.

“This finance facility provided instant relief to growers who were affected by TC Yasa.

“Sugar Cane Growers Funds facilitated loans to around 600 growers for TC Yasa rehabilitation works.

“I have been informed that a very small fraction of the growers who capitalized on these facilities have fully met their loan obligations while the greater fraction of growers are still finding difficulty in meeting the repayment to the Sugar Cane Growers Fund.

The PS said considering that these farmers would receive marginal to zero cane payment after deductions, the government decided to meet the debt obligations and associated interest of these farmers by allocating total of $550,000 in the 2021-2022 Revised budget.

The signing of the grant agreement between Ministry and Sugar Cane Growers Funds is testimony that government will pay the outstanding debts on behalf of the farmers in the Northern Division who took specialized loan for TC Yasa from Sugar Cane Growers Fund.

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