Renewed hope for farmer

FOR two years Raghavan, a sugarcane grower from Drasa, Lautoka, struggled to get his 12-acre farm to achieve its full potential.

He was about to give up on his farm when the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji approached him with the opportunity to turn his field into a demonstration farm.

On Thursday, about 60 growers from around the Western Division got to see first-hand, the processes involved in new land preparation, and seed-cane and fertiliser application at Raghavan’s farm.

“I honestly don’t know if I would be planting this year if it wasn’t for SRIF because I didn’t have the resources or the labourers to work my farm,” the 72-year-old shared.

“When SRIF approached me, I was excited because not only will my farm finally achieve its full potential, it was also used today (yesterday) to show farmers how we can do things better.”

Mr Raghavan said he harvested 167 tonnes in 2015 and 150 tonnes last year.

“This year, I am looking at a harvest of more than 200 tonnes and this is a sign that the future looks good for the industry if farmers utilise new planting methods.”

Fiji Sugar Corporation cane development manager Samu Railoa said the total cost of preparing and planting six acres on Mr Raghavan’s farm was about $1480.

“This is very competitive when you take into account Government’s grant of $1200 per hectare,” he said.

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