Expiry of land leases caused the sugar industry's downfall: FSC
February 7, 2019 8:10 am
Cane farmers in Wainikoro and Daku, outside of Labasa have been told that the expiry of land leases in 1997 caused the downfall of the sugar industry.
Responding to views and suggestions from farmers on the development of the National Sugar Industry Policy, FSC Chief Operating Officer Navin Chandra says in 1997, Fiji was producing 4.7 million tonnes of cane.
By 2005, Fiji had lost 44 per cent of this cane due to the expiry of leases.
Chandra adds, as a result some farmers were given $28,000 and were relocated to other places decreasing the number of cane farmers from 25,000 to 12,000.
If we really want to talk about the issue that really broke this industry, that was the issue (expiry of leases) but we are all strong. We are all strong together as one team. There is only one industry and one product. It’s not complex.
Other proposals put forward during the consultation include improving the drainage network, reviewing the cane payment system, improving communication between FSC and farmers, introduce an allowance initiative for cane cutters and fixing the railway system.
The consultation moves to Seaqaqa today.