State praised for cost reductions

SUGARCANE farmers have praised Government for reducing costs of their farming operations through the 2017-2018 National Budget.

Canefarmers will no longer worry about paying $31.50 for a 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser, but will instead pay $20 a bag.

Government has increased fertiliser subsidy from $14.09 to $25.59 costing them $15.5million, an increase of $6m.

The recent concerns raised by farmers about high cost of hiring harvesters, which were highlighted in this newspaper’s sugar survey report has also been addressed.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced the Commerce Commission determined a maximum rate of $17.50 per tonne for hiring the machines.

This budget announcements has gone down well with many canefarmers who were interviewed.

At Wainikoro and Lagalaga in Macuata, Gaya Prasad, a farmer of 40 years, described the assistance as a sigh of relief for many farmers.

“At last,” he said.

“We are so happy that the price of fertiliser bags have dropped and the rate of hiring harvesting machines is now at a maximum charge of $17.50 per tonne.

“Thank you, thank you Bainimarama Government for thinking of the canefarmers.”

Deo Chand, another farmer said he would now save some money.

“At least, I can save more money than what I used to save when we paid $31.50 per bag of fertiliser.” he said.

Farmers of Nakelikoso and Labasa shared similar sentiments.

Jaynant Prasad said this was the best news for farmers.

“Good move by Government and we are happy that with the new rate of hiring harvesters at $17.50 per tonne, we can harvest more cane now for FSC,” he said.

“Farmers will afford the new rate and production will surely increase.”

Another well-known farmer in the area, Akisi Vinaka, also thanked Government for considering the financial plight of farmers.

She said the Government had certainly walked its talk when it promised to help sugarcane farmers.

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