‘Refocus on agriculture sector’

Sugar Cane Growers Fund Chief Executive Officer Raj Sharma speaks to the farmers during a meeting with farmers in Moto Ba. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

There should be a government guarantee scheme for farmers in the agricultural sector.

This was a recommendation made by Sugar Cane Growers Fund chief executive officer Raj Sharma, who said agriculture including sugarcane farming were sectors that should have more funding in the next national budget.

“At the moment the cost of borrowing is quite high especially if you are trying to buy land for agriculture purposes,” he said.

“So one of the recommendations I made was that Government should have a guarantee scheme for farmers or investors in agriculture.

“Agriculture also includes sugarcane farming and that is one area that we can focus on.

“One of the main problems that farmers face is finding a good avenue to get a loan with good interest rates.

“There is the Fiji Development Bank but sometimes the interest rates are too high for the farmer.

“So having a guarantee scheme by the State will make it easier for them to get a loan from these institutions.”

He explained that it was also important for the State to refocus on agriculture and sugarcane farming in the next budget.

“The agriculture sector brings in a lot of revenue and I believe that there should be a refocus on the agriculture sector. ”

The 2020/2021 National Budget is expected to be announced on July 17.

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