Thursday, September 24, 2009

FIJI: End of days for Olosara farmers


By ELENOA BASELALA

Thursday, September 24, 2009

IT is no longer worthwhile for Olosara farmers to plant sugar cane due to high transportation costs.
This is the word from Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Parmesh Chand as he called on the farmers to switch to non-cane produce next year.
"In future, from 2010 and beyond, the total harvesting and transportation costs ($48 per tonne) represent 78 per cent of the forecast price of $61.17 per tonne, leaving only $13.17 per tonne to meet living expenses and other commitments," Mr Chand said.
"It is not worth continuing to cultivate cane any more for Olosara sector cane farmers."
He said the ministry understood the plight of the Olosara cane growers, in terms of high harvesting costs and transportation.
"It is for this reason that following a meeting between the Sugar Ministry and the Sugar Cane Growers Council, the latter was advised to start informing cane growers in Olosara - numbering 275 - to switch to non-cane from year 2010," he said.
"In this regard, the Sugar Ministry has begun consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture with the view to taking on these farmers under the ministry's extension services division from as early as the end of this year.
"Our advice to cane growers in Olosara sector is to hang in there, get ready to harvest all your cane for 2009 and prepare to diversify to non-cane from 2010 for which a joint team from the Ministry of Sugar, Ministry of Agriculture and Sugar Taskforce will hold consultation meetings with farmers to discuss the way forward," Mr Chand added.


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