Prasad claims he cannot meet expenses

Sugarcane farmer Manoj Prasad at his farm in Drasa Dam Rd in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

A Lautoka canegrower claims he cannot meet his farm and labour costs for the 2021 crushing season because the $10.37 per tonne fourth cane payment for last season was too low.

“I am really disappointed at the cane payment because this is the main one we used to prepare for the new harvesting season,” Manoj Prasad of Drasa said.

“This money is used to do maintenance on trucks and other machinery and is also used to meet food costs for canecutters, restock fuel for harvesting and buy necessities for cutters to use.”

Mr Prasad said decision-makers needed to take heed of the reality faced by growers, especially during this challenging time.

He said growers were contemplating investing in vegetable and other root crop farming because of the uncertainty in the industry.

“I have been a grower for the past decade and I have two other brothers who are also growers and we harvest 2000 tonnes every crushing season.”

Mr Prasad said he sourced labourers from Korovou, Tailevu, and hoped they would travel to Lautoka when crushing began.

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