A total of 3,360 cane farms with an area of 10,197 hectares were damaged during Tropical Cyclone Yasa in Vanua Levu. To assist affected farmers with rehabilitating their farms, Government has approved a Crop and Rehabilitation Plan worth more than $4 million which is expected to be rolled out today, 5th February, 2021.
Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister and Sugar Industry, Mr Yogesh Karan said the damages sustained by the Sugar Industry following the devastation caused by TC Yasa were significant and these include damages to cane crop, infrastructure and livestock belonging to cane growers.
“The total estimated crop loss is around 244,400 tonnes of the initial forecast of 690,000 tonnes of cane for Labasa Mill,” Mr Karan said. “The Government, as part of its commitment to supporting the Sugar Industry, has endorsed this recovery plan to allow room for rehabilitation and further development on affected cane farms in Vanua Levu.
Mr Karan highlighted that under the plan, there are five main activities which include the supply of fertilisers, weedicides and slashing of damaged crops. “Affected farmers will be supplied with 34,236 bags of Blend C fertilisers and 26, 104 litres of Amine and 26,104 kg of Diuron weedicides. Such assistance will be provided at no cost to the farmers,” he said.
“Also, the provision of slashing 50 hectares of land to clear damaged crops will be provided to assist farmers in their farms.” Mr Karan said the recovery plan also focused on drainage assistance and replanting activities.
“Farmers will also be assisted with in- field drainage works and replanting of crops which will be done in two stages,” he said. “Under the replanting activity, the first stage will begin from next month to October and the second stage will be from August to October 2021. This initiative will greatly enhance cane production.”
The Permanent Secretary has advised all affected farmers to contact the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Sugarcane Growers Council for assessment and verification purposes.
“The damages will be verified first by the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Sugarcane Growers Council before the assistance is provided to the farmers,” he said. “We are requesting the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure that timely assistance is provided to the cane farmers.
“For the farmers in the West, the FSC team is also carrying out assessments to ascertain the damages caused by TC Ana on the cane farms. Once the assessments are done, we will then decide on the type of assistance to be provided to the farmers there.”