$95k bridge to boost efforts to increase production

Sugar Industry Director Sanjay Kumar (5th from left) congratulates the cane farmer Kusitino Rosi after the opening of the new bridge at Rakavidi Settlement in Tavua. Picture: REINAL CHAND

POTENTIAL for increasing sugarcane production in a rural community of Tavua has been boosted by the construction of a $95,000 Irish crossing this month.

Funded by the Ministry of Sugar, the construction is the first step towards bettering cane access roads leading to Rakavidi Settlement, home to about seven canefarmers.

Sugar Industry director Sanjay Kumar said there was scope for much growth in the area as patches of idle land could be made useful for cane planting.

He said despite cane planting grants and subsidies on fertiliser and weedicide, farmers could not transport cane to mills because of poor road conditions.

Apart from farmers, children often missed school during bad weather because the state of roads deteriorated.

Farmer Kusitino Rosi, 64, has been a farmer for the past 12 years. He harvests an average of 100 tonnes of sugar cane each year from his 30 acre farm.

He said he could produce more cane but transport issues made harvesting very difficult. “We use bullocks to take tractors up to farms just so we could work on our cane fields,” he said.

“We often had to wait to get cane down from our farms because when the roads are bad, nothing can travel through.

“Now, we are grateful for this assistance because we will have a chance to upgrade our cane access road and also boost sugarcane farming in the area.”

The farmers fall under Drumasi sector.