8 Mar 2005

Fiji Sugar Corporation approaching hundreds of landowners in effort to increase production

6:59 pm on 8 March 2005

The Fiji Sugar Corporation, the FSC, is approaching Fijian landowners to consider planting cane to increase sugar production and is again training farmers to improve quality.

The chairman of the FSC, Ross McDonald, says they've spoken to hundreds of Fijian landowners whose land is lying idle following the expiry of leases, in order to persuade them to consider cane farming themselves.

He says last year, only three million tonnes was harvested when in previous years, the cane farmers achieved up to four million tonnes.

Mr McDonald says it's an ongoing issue but they are being pro-active.

"'We are going to the Fijian landowners where the land has become idle and talking to them, and encouraging them to farm the land. We're going out directly and we are getting them in to train them to be farmers. But, it's a matter of us going out to talk to potential farmers one on one, to encourage them to get into cane production."

Ross McDonald says they're also training current farmers on husbandry techniques to help improve the quality of cane.

And, he says new plant and equipment is being planned for the mills.