FALLOW LAND LIMTS FIJI SUGAR PRODUCTION

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14,000 hectares unplanted

By Mereseini Marau SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 29, 2010) - SOME 3,179 registered cane growers have failed to plant any cane, leaving 13,797 hectares of land idle out of the 70,000 hectares used in the sugar industry.

And the Fiji Sugar Corporation has lost out on an estimated 827,856 tonnes of cane for that area.

The remaining 15,000 growers who use 60,000 hectares produced 2.25million tonnes of cane last year.

Speaking to landowners in the West about the importance of giving their land back to the sugar industry, FSC general manager field services Seru Vularika said those growers included the i taukei (native) and non i taukei growers. "These are nil producers who are mostly the i taukei," he said.

Mr Vularika said that from the four sectors in the Lautoka district, 321 growers failed to cultivate 1271 hectares of land.

They failed to produce an estimated 76272 tonnes of cane.

Mr Vularika said all those farmers would have boosted last year's harvest had they produced the estimated tonnage.

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