The Sugar Cane Growers Council has welcomed the announcement regarding the proposed amendments of the iTaukei Land Trust Act and the State Lands Act which would provide for or require no written consent from institutions for mortgages and other utility purposes and will bring efficiency in loan disbursements to cane growers.
The CEO of the Sugar Cane Growers Council, Vimal Dutt says growers will also save on consent fees.
Dutt says cane growers who are farming on State or iTaukei land will soon not be required to take written consent for mortgages or for water and electricity connections.
He says previously, written consent was needed from TLTB or the State which will soon be taken away.
Dutt says this will be helpful for the cane growers and would speed up the process of the disbursements of loans.
Meanwhile, the Council has also welcomed the announcement on the minimum guaranteed cane price of $85 per tonne for 2020 and 2021 season and is calling on the growers to do their part by harvesting cane, maintaining COVID-19 related protocols and getting vaccinated.
Dutt says it is obvious that proportionate share of the sugar price will be awarded to the cane growers and this would be the fourth consecutive year of Governments support on the cane price and towards the sustainability of the sugar industry.
Dutt says the continuity of subsidies on the farm input such as fertilizer and weedicides is a huge relief to the farmers, including the cane planting grant and cane access road maintenance funding. Government will continue to provide the fertiliser subsidy to farmers at a rate of $25.59 per bag with a total funding allocation of $15.6 million. A further $3.3 million is also provided for cane access roads, sugarcane development farmer assistance, weedicide subsidy and new farmer assistance.
He says the new farmer assistance facility will be an encouragement to the new entrants willing to pursue sugar cane farming business, especially an opportunity to the labourers who intend to graduate as cane farmers.
He says the $1 million allocation for alternative livelihood program will allow small and marginal growers to venture into productive agricultural initiatives.
Dutt says a significant number of growers seek loan each year to cater for operational expenses.
The Council adds the increased interest subsidy on agricultural loans with Fiji Development Bank will be of ease on the borrowing costs.
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