Good news for cane farmers as the fourth cane payment of $10.31 per tonne will be made tomorrow.
The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Sugar Yogesh Karan confirms the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had discussions with the FSC and other stakeholders and it was decided that no deductions should be made from this payment except for those farmers who have loan obligations.
However, Karan says those growers who have loans from the Fiji Development Bank and the Sugar Cane Growers Fund can talk to these institutions for their loan deductions to be deferred and he has also spoken to these institutions to assist the growers.
Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union says cane farmers are disappointed with the $10.31 per tonne payment.
General Secretary, Mahendra Chaudhry says farmers are owed $25.30 for their 2020 crop and were expecting at least $20 per tonne considering the hardship posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says growers are as badly affected by the COVID induced economic downturn as others but are not receiving any form of government assistance.
Chaudhry says the growers are saying that this amount will not be enough for them to prepare adequately for harvesting of the 2021 crop.
Chaudhry further says growers are asking FSC and the government to consider a supplementary payment of $10 a tonne without any further delay if harvesting is to begin on time.
He adds farmers are still awaiting an announcement on the forecast price for the 2021 crop and the continuation of the guaranteed minimum price of $85 per tonne.
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