Call to reduce cost of cultivation

PRIME Minister and Sugar Minister Voreqe Bainimarama reminded cane growers in Lautoka that reducing the cost of cane cultivation and production was the only sustainable way forward for the sugar industry.

During consultations held at the Sugar Cane Growers Council hall this week, he said the unprecedented investment by his Government was achieving results in this regard unlike the unrealistic promises made by the Opposition.

“We’ve set aside unprecedented funding towards capital programs this financial year,” he said.

“In total, the budget toward the sugar industry was increased to $60 million, nearly double last year’s allocation.

“And with our support, cane production in 2018 is anticipated to reach close to two million tonnes.”

The PM said the strategies driving the industry forward combined with Government’s financial backing were already reaping rewards for the sector.

“Too often, we hear big promises from the Opposition, but we don’t hear real solutions.

“They talk about giving $100 per tonne, but they never talk about how to bring down the actual cost base for your cane.

“And that is the only way you’ll really see bigger profits, now and over the long term.

“Only when we bring down the costs of production, can we put this industry on a real path to a more sustainable and more profitable future.

“That is why my Government has given wide reaching assistance that is seriously lowering your cost base.

“We are boosting cane production and improving extension services, transportation and harvesting.

“We’ve helped transfer new and better technologies to farmers.”

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