Government through the Ministry of Sugar Industry has scaled up its assistance to the growers to prepare for the new cane crushing season.
In a statement, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister and Sugar Industry, Yogesh Karan said that cane growers will be paid a total of $10.31 per tonne in the fourth cane payment of the 2020 crushing season.
The total proceeds for the fourth payment is valued at $17.8 million.
The decision to defer payments which farmers normally have to make has been achieved because Government through the Prime Minister and Minister of Sugar Industry and Fiji Sugar Corporation have consulted and collaborated with the iTaukei Land Trust Board, Lands Department and lending institutions such as Fiji Development Bank (FDB), Sugarcane Growers Fund (SCGF) and Cane Farmers Cooperative Savings and Loans Association (CCSLA).
This deferral has been agreed to given the current challenges faced by growers.
As a result of this cooperation, FSC and other stakeholders have agreed to the release of $10.31 per tonne to the growers without deductions except for FDB.
Mr. Karan said “that any grower who had borrowed funds from FDB need to contact the A/CEO or General Manager Relationship and Sales of FDB urgently should they want the deductions reversed. However, this will be on a case-by-case basis because some farmers want to pay their dues as scheduled.”
“The growers owed a total of $11.32 million; $1.97 million to FSC and $9.35 million to the rest of the institutions and had the deductions been made in this payment, the growers would have received only $6.51 million or $3.76 per tonne on average.”
Mr. Karan said that the Ministry of Sugar Industry is grateful to the Prime Minister and these institutions for their remarkable support in considering the welfare of growers and agreeing to delay the collection of their payments from growers.
He said this collaboration attests to the commitment of these institutions to support the growers as well as assisting with the overall development of the Fijian Sugar Industry.
“The farmers’ supplementary income has also been affected due to COVID pandemic restrictions. Therefore, the deferring of the deductions will bring much relief to the growers who need sufficient cash to prepare for the new cane crushing season and to meet the needs of their families.”
Mr. Karan said that the deductions will be made from the final payment and this is scheduled to be made in October 2021.