$6.3m subsidy results in healthy cane plants

GOVERNMENT’S $6.3 million fertiliser subsidy has seen the uptake of plant nutrients increase by up to 40 per cent, says Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan.

“I visited Rakiraki earlier this week and was very pleased to see how healthy the cane plants looked,” Mr Karan said.

“We believe the improvement has a lot to do with the increased fertiliser subsidy from $9m in previous years to $15.4m as of last year. “Farmers now pay around $20 for a 50kg bag of fertiliser instead of $31.50 they used to pay before.”

He said the fertiliser utilisation had doubled compared with previous years.

“After Tropical Cyclone Winston, farmers had huge issues with flooding because minerals and fertiliser were washed away and Government made a decision to step in and assist.

“To increase yield, we need good fertilisation and that is what the increase in subsidy has done.”

Mr Karan said another big positive was the planting of 6000 hectares of new cane last planting season.

“Barring any major weather events, this should give us an additional 360,000 tonnes of cane and this would take us one step closer to achieving our target of four million tonnes by 2022.”

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