Fiji Sugar Cane Farmers Disappointed In Third Payment

Farmers Union confused by size of payment since they missed second payment in December

By Luisa Qiolevu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 22, 2017) – More than 8000 sugarcane farmers in Fiji were not happy after they received their third cane payment yesterday.

National Farmers Union president Surendra Lal claimed farmers missed out on their second pay which was supposed to be in December last year despite requests for early pay and this led to confusion for most farmers who thought they would receive a full pay on their third payment.

"These farmers had a hard time waiting for their pay since December last year only to find out that all their deductions for land rent, fertiliser, sugar, rice and weedicide were deducted," he said.

Mr Lal said farmers struggled a lot last year and the beginning of this year because of payment delays.

"The Fiji Sugar Corporation should have made arrangements with the farmers on how to go about those deductions.

"These farmers already don't have money with them for the past three months and having to lose a lot of their pay from the amount of money deducted is totally unfair."

Mr Lal said they had requested to pay installments for deductions so farmers could have some money left to use for their families.

"They could have at least deducted 50 per cent on this pay and 50 per cent later in our next pay which is in May but instead they had to deduct all at one time," he said.

"They should have seen the livelihood of sugarcane farmers and the struggles they went through in the past three months and help them instead of making them suffer again as they too have families and children's education to support."

In an earlier report, Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark said releasing the funds early had not been an easy task.

"We worked tirelessly to ensure we could get the resources to make the payment and we were very happy that we were able to advise the Sugar Cane Growers Council that we would be able to accede to that request."

Fiji Times Online.
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