Growers to care for roads

ONGOING repairs and maintenance of 200 kilometres of cane access roads, which are being upgraded under a $30 million European Union-funded project will either be done by residents living along the roads or by maintenance contractors.

Sugarcane growers in Koronubu in Ba, Malolo in Nadi and Drasa, Lautoka, raised concerns about the ongoing maintenance work once the four-year project conducted by the Pacific Community (SPC) under its Rural Access Roads and Associated Infrastructure (RARAI) project was completed this year.

“The RARAI project has two avenues to carry out routine maintenance,” said SPC in response to queries from this newspaper.

“One is via the Cane Access Road (CAR) committees that consist of residents who live along RARAI upgraded roads, enabling them to take ownership of the maintenance of the CARs,” SPC said.

“A selected number of road committees have been reactivated resulting from a series of workshops the project ran with them in partnership with FSC (Fiji Sugar Corporation) in the latter part of 2017.

“In March 2018, they will be provided with maintenance implements such as digging forks, spades, wheelbarrows, knapsack sprays, weedicide, gumboots, gloves, cane knives and files.

“Each of these road committees have individualaction plans to carry out routine maintenance along their CARs.

“Prior to the equipment/implements being distributed, a draft agreement has been drawn and needs to be signed between the RARAI project/SPC, Sugar Cane Growers Council, Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Sugar Industry Tribunal to oversee the support towards the road committees once maintenance equipment are distributed.”

“The second avenue is via the provision of a maintenance contractor to conduct maintenance work where road committees may lack the capacity to do so.”

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