Historic Budget Boost for Sugar Industry

Sugar Minister Charan Jeath Singh has reaffirmed the government’s dedication to addressing historical injustices. In his recent budget response in Parliament, Singh emphasized the substantial benefits the sugar industry is set to receive from the $70.1 million allocation in the new budget.

The ministry sought funds to continue 13 initiatives from the 2023/2024 fiscal year. Singh highlighted that the primary concern for cane farmers has always been the payments they receive for their cane. He noted significant achievements under the current government, with payments of $91.38 per ton for the 2022 season and $101.08 per ton for the 2023 season.

Despite favorable cane prices, Singh expressed gratitude for the $4 million allocation for sugar price stabilization. Additionally, $4 million has been earmarked for the Cane Access Roads Program, ensuring temporary repairs for over 3,000 roads, culverts, and crossings.

The ministry has also allocated $1 million for the provision of cane cage bins, expecting to fabricate over 40 bins to facilitate the transport of mechanically harvested cane via the rail network, which is the most cost-effective mode of transportation.

Key initiatives funded by the ministry include:
– Sugarcane Development and Farmers Assistance Program – $4 million
– Farm Incentive Program – $1 million
– Sugarcane Farm Mechanisation Program – $500,000
– Manual Harvesting Support Program – $3 million
– Fiji Corrections Services (manual cane harvesting) – $320,000
– Fertilizer Subsidy Program – $20 million
– Weedicide subsidies – $1 million
– Cartage cost subsidies – $4.9 million
– Drainage – $5.5 million
– Fiji Sugar Corporation capital support – $15 million
– Multi-Ethnic Affairs budget – $6 million

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