NFU calls for cane payment

THE National Farmers Union (NFU) has called on Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) to release the fourth cane payment which will enable farmers to prepare for the coming cane crushing season.Union president Surendra Lal said so far farmers were in bad need of the money to prepare for the season which begins on June 19.

Mr Lal said farmers often copped the blame for poor crushing results.

“Giving farmers this money to prepare themselves now will have a positive effect on their productivity,” he said.

“Most farmers are still running around trying to figure where they will get funds from to prepare for the coming cane harvest season.

“This payment should have been done last Friday and farmers are yet to receive or hear of anything regarding the payment.

“If they want farmers to be productive in the coming season, then they need to give farmers ample time to prepare instead of blaming them when things don’t turn out right.”

Mr Lal said farmers needed to figure wages of their labourers, mend machinery and other sundry tasks that needed money.

“We understand the requirement under the master award, but under humanitarian grounds they need to consider the needs of these farmers, considering the adverse weather that affected them recently,” he said.

Responding to these concerns, a statement from FSC said all cane payments were governed by the Sugar Industry Master Award and the fourth cane payment was no different.

The statement said the master award required the fourth cane payment to be based on industry revenue calculated to April 30.

“This has been done and the necessary audits and verification is in progress and the payment is due as soon as practicable after April 30 which will be announced in due course,” the statement said.

“Farmers are paid based on the tonnage of cane delivered in the relevant season.

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