Fiji Sugar Farmers Plead For Help Ahead Of Harvest Season

Financial assistance, not more consultations needed: Association

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 30, 2016) – THE Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association says farmers need assistance to prepare for the 2016 harvest season.

President Girish Kumar said instead of pushing through a second round of consultations on the Reform of the Sugar Cane Industry Bill and Sugar Cane Growers Fund Amendment Bill, growers should have been given financial aid to boost harvest preparations.

"We have said this before and we are saying it again — we need help to rebuild labourers homes because the Help for Homes initiative is only for farmers' homes," he said.

"It also does not help us repair equipment damaged during Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

"We do not understand the urgency of pushing these Bills through when the most important need is farm assistance.

"Government and the Fiji Sugar Corporation have said they were serious about taking the views and concerns of growers on board and yet when we ask for these Bills to be translated into iTaukei and Hindi, it did not happen."

[PIR editor's note: On June 30, 2016 Fiji Times reported that 'Lautoka sugarcane farmer Sunil Kumar is praying for assistance that will help him prepare for the next harvesting season. ... He said with the next crushing season looming, he was painfully aware of the high costs that preparation would entail. ... "The cost is just too much to bear right now," he said. ... "It's hard to get everything organised when you are working with very little money."']

The Standing Comittee on Economic Affairs is hosting consultations on the two Bills in the Western Division this week.

The Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association represents 7000 farmers from Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki.

Questions sent to Prime Minister and Sugar Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan regarding the comments made by the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers association remain unanswered.

Fiji Times Online.

Copyright © 2016 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

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