Sugar industry faces farmer exodus

March 4, 2024 6:39 am

The sugar industry is currently grappling with a significant challenge: the migration of farmers to other job opportunities.

Sugarcane Growers Council Fund Chief Executive Vimal Dutt notes a noticeable shift, with more farmers moving from rural to urban areas.

In the past, Fiji boasted over 13,000 registered cane farmers, however today, the number of active farmers has dropped to around 10,000.

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Dutt says they are actively exploring alternative strategies to safeguard sugar production.

He says the departure of sugarcane farmers has created a notable gap, especially since family members often assisted in harvesting and cultivation.

“Supporting people are probably moving out because farmers in the old set-up, sons and daughters were providing the support, probably the hands are not there that’s why we have to depend on mechanization and one of the constraints is that harvesting of canes on the hills and as of now, as I speak there is no solution but we are looking into it.”

Dutt advocates for strategic measures aimed at boosting productivity and ensuring the sector’s long-term viability.