Gavoka outlines party plans

THE Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) will do anything it can to renew land leases of sugarcane farmers, says MP Viliame Gavoka.

Mr Gavoka made the statement in Parliament during debate on the 2017-2018 National Budget.

Speaking on the need for new farmers to venture into sugarcane farming, Mr Gavoka moved a motion for the allocation of $2 million to assist new farmers be increased by another $2m.

“We need to get more number of young people into sugarcane farming,” he said.

Mr Gavoka said a lot of farm land was left idle in the country.

Supporting Mr Gavoka’s motion, National Federation Party (NFP) leader Professor Biman Prasad said the allocation of $2m was insufficient to assist new farmers.

Mr Prasad said the Government should give a clear signal to those farmers who have moved out from sugarcane farming.

NFP MP Parmod Chand also moved a motion to increase the allocation of $1m for sugarcane farm mechanisation to $3m.

Mr Chand said $1m was not enough.

He said the cost of cane harvesters were about $350,000.

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fiji Sugar Corporation would purchase cane harvesters for the farmers as well.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also outlined that the FSC was also buying 300 trucks as part of the mechanisation process.

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