Lal: Reform Bill will not work

THE Reform of the Sugar Cane Industry Bill 2016 is like hitting the last nail on a coffin box will suppress farmers’ involvement.

This is how National Farmers Union (NFU) president Surendra Lal described the Bill at the public consultation in Labasa this week, and noted NFU’s total rejection of the reform.

“It will bring more problems for the industry and growers will be affected. It is useless and the farmers are totally left out,” Mr Lal submitted.

“The FSC should not be solely owned by Government because as it is, there are a lot of hiccups at the mill and what guarantee do we have that all this will end under the reform.

“We have seen the inefficiencies in the mill in every single crushing season and the farmers have been blamed all the time for bringing in burnt cane.”

Mr Lal said the reform would not work.

But consultation chairman Vijay Nath assured the farmers’ interests would be well looked after by Government because this was the reason for the reform after a survey in 2010.

Mr Nath, however, told Mr Lal that his submissions would be tabled in the committee meeting like other submissions received.

But Mr Lal said the farmers’ concerns would not be totally recognised as the reform would empower FSC to be totally responsible.

“The farmers need to have total representation in the industry and we need to be fully involved, which is why our shares need to remain with the growers.

“With this reform, the members of the council will also include the divisional commissioners of the West and North and what canefarming background do they have?

“The FSC should just crush cane, make sugar and market it and not interfere with the growers side of the industry.”

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