TC Josie damages crops

SUGARCANE growers in Ba have estimated crop losses of up to 20 per cent because of strong winds and flooding associated with Tropical Cyclone Josie.

Arun Sharma, a prominent farmer from Naloto in Ba said the extent of flood damage on Sunday was significant.

“We had very strong wind from 8pm Saturday right through to when floodwaters began invading farms in Moto, Tabataba, Naroko, Balevuto and Naloto,” he said.

“The wind has bent cane stalks and floodwaters have destroyed a lot of the new cane that were recently planted.

“Apart from cane, farmers in Ba have lost almost all their cash crops.

“These are the crops vulnerable to extreme weather events and it will take time for them to recover.”

Mr Sharma said farmers in Ba were awaiting a survey by sugar industry stakeholders which would ascertain the extent of damage to cane across the Western Division.

Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty said it was too early to determine the extent of loss, if any.

“Our biggest concern is water-logged fields and the amount of damage sustained by farmers who plant near waterways,” he said.

“We urge growers to please drain out all stagnant water wherever possible.”

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has projected a total harvest of about 1.79 million tonnes of cane this season.

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