18 Feb 2009

Fiji's canegrowers association says sugar cane industry needs help

11:59 am on 18 February 2009

Fiji's canegrowers association says as long as there are land issues surrounding the farming of sugar, the sugar cane industry will continue to suffer.

In January the Fiji Sugar Corporation announced a loss of more than 5 million US dollars in their half year report ending November 30, 2008.

Following the floods, the Cane Growers Association estimates a loss of up to 16 million US dollars, with industry bodies are asking the government for greater assistance.

The head of the assocation, Bala Dass says renewing land leases cost an average of 5 thousand US dollars, which is a tough ask at the moment.

He says there's also the uncertainty of whether landowners will choose to renew their lease - and when farmers become unsure of their future, they lose interest in farming the cane.

"Farmers need security, farmers need long term leases, farmers need long term loans from lending organisations, farmers need governments assistance. Definitely government will have to inject some money invest some money in the industry and then only will the industry come back."

The head of the cane growers assocation, Bala Dass.