Enhanced support measures for cane farmers: Singh

May 26, 2024 12:22 pm

The Ministry of Sugar Industry is working with the industry stakeholders to support farmers and landowners alike.

Highlighting the reliance on leased land for cane farming, Minister, Charan Jeath Singh highlighted that between 2024 and 2031, 1,609 cane leases will expire in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

Singh says the Fiji Sugar Corporation, Sugar Cane Growers Council, Sugar Cane Growers Fund, have been working in close collaboration with iTaukei Land Trust Board to assist both, the cane farmers and the landowners.

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“Between 2019 and 2020 the Ministry spent total of $1.52 million to assist 267 farmers inclusive of 46 female farmers for a payment of 100 percent of the lease renewal plus the purchase of new farms with the maximum grant of $10,000 per month. These farmers were also registered with cane farming grants and input subsidies to establish farmers.”

Charan Jeath Singh [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

Singh says $2 million has been allocated for this financial year under a new program designed to assist with lease renewals and farm purchases.

“We have received 163 applications and so far 95 farmers have signed agreement with the Ministry to receive funding for the leases for the cane farmers. Majority of these farmers, Mr. Speaker, Sir, were from Vanua Levu, mainly from Seaqaqa cane belt areas and have been assisted with a total of $0.4 million for the payment of lease renewal cost.”

Singh states that the rest of the applications are being processed by the Ministry and the farmers will be assisted before the end of this financial year.