The National Farmers Union has warned FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan not to use abusive language when responding to growers’ representatives.
“We represent the cane growers of Fiji and Mr. Khan must learn to treat us with respect. The Union is there to look after the welfare of the growers. Defending their rights, is not “stirring shit”
Abdul Khan should be told.
“Indeed, if there is any shit in the industry, it is in FSC. We have given ample evidence in recent weeks of all the malfeasance taking place in the Corporation for which we want an inquiry,” said NFU general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry.
Mr Chaudhry also corrected Mr Khan’s reference to a “boycott”. “There is no boycott. Growers simply do not have the money to pay for all the harvesting costs. They are asking for an additional payment of $10 a tonne to enable them to engage labour and pay for other costs so they can start cutting cane, ” he said.
The fact that the Labasa Mill has been running on a stop/start basis since the first load of
cane was tipped in yesterday morning is ample evidence that there is not enough cane at the mill to sustain continuous operation.
This should tell Mr Khan that growers are not ready to harvest – because they do not have the funds. FSC should take full responsibility for this situation because of the low 4th cane payment.
“As we pointed out earlier, the 4th Cane Payment is customarily paid out without any deductions because it is used by the growers to prepare for the harvest. This time around FSC has made all manner of deductions, including rent. In some cases double deductions have been made leaving most growers receiving hardly any money in their hands,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Besides, we want FSC to explain why growers are not getting the $110 a tonne payment they were promised at the time of the 2014 general elections,” Mr Chaudhry said.