26 Sep 2017

Fiji govt told sugar replanting package doesn't work

9:18 am on 26 September 2017

An official with the Fiji opposition National Federation Party says the government has to bring in a sugar replanting programme that works.

Party general secretary, Jaganath Sami, said the Fiji Sugar Corporation had already downsized this year's expected crop to 1.8 million tonnes and he expects it to come down further.

Mr Sami said the principal cause was a replanting assistance package that expects farmers to wait four months for the government's funding support to pay for the preparation of the land, for seeds and for planting.

He said canegrowers don't have the capacity for this.

"They are already struggling. They don't have the cash flow. How will that prepare the land and plant the cane and then their pay."

"On the other hand the government is, for the non-sugar farmers, the government is issuing out $FJD1000 cash grants," he said.

Mr Sami said the government needs to look at the Crop Rehabilitation Programme of 1998/99 which resulted in the crop doubling.

Sugar cane trucks in Fiji's western division.

Sugar cane trucks in Fiji's western division. Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet