Growers’ input vital to move industry forward

Locomotive lines up the carts loaded with sugar cane at the Lautoka mill. Picture:FILE/REINAL CHAND

YOU know what should be improved in the sugar industry and we need that information to develop a policy that will take the sector forward.

This was the message from Ministry of Sugar Industry director policy research Reshmi Kumari to farmers during National Sugar Industry Policy consultations in the Western Division over the past two weeks. She said the development of a five-year policy — the first ever for the industry — would ensure the entire sector had a plan that would have the input of everyone and clearly defined the role and expectation of each stakeholder.

“We want to hear from you from all the areas starting with cane planting, harvesting, husbandry practices, transportation, milling and whether we need to review legislation such as the Master Award,” she said.

“We really don’t know, you as farmers would know what should be improved.

“Don’t just elaborate on problems, give us ideas as well on how to address those problems.

“For example, in other forums we heard about the CPG (cane planting grant), Government is giving a lot but some farmers are abusing it.

“So tell us what should we do to stop these — this is just one example.”

Consultations in the West began on Monday January 14 in Malau Sector Rakiraki and ended on Tuesday, January 29, at Cuvu Sector, Sigatoka.

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