Call to focus on objective

SUGAR Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan urged farmers not be swayed by political comments and market issues and to focus on their core objective of growing more cane.

“A lot is being said about the state of the industry and I know that farmers are also uncertain about what will happen when preferential quota access into the European Union ends in October next year,” he said.

“And my message to the farmers is this — take advantage of the good weather and Government’s $9 million cane planting grant that is available and grow more cane.

“Don’t worry about everything else, we are prepared and we know what needs to be done.

“In terms of the end of EU preferential access, I don’t see much of an issue, there are alternative markets and we have already done a lot of work in this area.

“I urge every farmer to plant as much cane as they can.”

Mr Karan also said Government was looking at how best to address the ageing machinery issue at all the sugar mills.

Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association president Girish Kumar said his organisation supported the comments made by Mr Karan.

“He is right, we should not be involved in politics and this is something I have said from the very beginning,” he said.

“However, some of the comments that we make that is often viewed as political are the genuine concerns of growers.

“And Government needs to take these comments as genuine concerns if we believe that something is not right or could be done better.

“And I want to put on the record that the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association is ready to work with the Government and Mr Karan to take this industry forward.”

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