19 May 2010

Some cane growers in Fiji say industry is no longer profitable

11:36 am on 19 May 2010

Farmers in Fiji are desperate to hear what their fourth payment for last years crop will be.

A petition has already been submitted calling for compensation for growers from the Fiji Sugar Corporation after profits were cut by problems at the crushing mills.

The upgrades to the mills were due to be completed by the 2009 season, but the work was not completed on time.

The fourth payment has been predicted to be so low that it won't help farmers get prepared for the next harvest, which starts at the beginning of next month.

Some cane growers say the industry is no longer profitable and is dying industry.

This grower, who farms outside Nadi, believes urgent action is needed:

"Before it was the backbone of Fiji, now I think it is still is the backbone of Fiji, is there is no sugarcane, this country can't survive and the people working in the town in the white collar job they won't get what they are getting now because farmers when they get the cane proceeds they go and do shopping if sugar cane farming is not here, this country can't survive."

The Fiji Sugar Corporation says the mills will be working well in time for this season.