Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sugar cane in Labasa

The climate is perfect in babasiga land for growing sugar so that hs been the prime industry in the northern part of Vanua Levu. Many members of our family have samll cane leases, about ten acres per person and at different times in the year other relatives come to the village and form cane-gangs to harvest the crops by hand. I think the canecutters get about $1 an hour - if they are lucky! Rather pathetic for the hard work. However, without sugar, Labasa would be a very different town. In earlier days it was of course the Colonial Sugar Refinery. I"ll try and post some pics of the mill in earlier days and today. Some of the downside of sugar is that native trees, plants, even medicine trees were cut down and also there is often pollution in the rivers, such as the Qawa near All Saints Secondary School not far from the mill.

The future of the sugar industry is problematic with the price going down. Also many of Labasa's Indian tenants have relocated to other places when their leases ran out. Some moved to near Navua to become vegetable farmers.

1 comment:

J. Biumaiwai said...

does anyone remember the manager and his wife at Malau - they were from NZ - around 1980 - would appreciate if anyone could give me their names - a friend and I, who were in Labasa, recently met and were trying to remember?