Wednesday, August 08, 2012

How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm

from w
From the experience of our Fijian family over two generations, many of the young people do not want to be cane-farmers but to have different jobs and also some have gone overseas to New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, England and do a variety of jobs or take up study opportunities.  There's so little money to be made in cane-farming these days so I'm not surprised that the Labasa Mill isn't getting the tons of cane expected. In a village a few will plant and others will take up employment for a weekly wage and generally will support the whole village according to their wishes or talents. Perhaps some coast along for the ride as well watching sunrise and sunset without contributing much at all.
From today's Fiji Times:

Youngsters missing from farms

Serafina Silaitoga
Thursday, August 09, 2012
RURAL-URBAN drift by the younger generation has seen ageing farmers working on cane farms.
This was raised at a meeting of field and mill officers of the Fiji Sugar Corporation in Labasa with Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi in Labasa yesterday.
It was also heard the situation had also contributed to the drop of cane harvested in Vanua Levu.
What used to be 1.2 million tonnes of harvested cane in the north per season now stands at around 500,000 tonnes — a drop of over 50 per cent.
FSC officers told Lt-Col Vaniqi the younger generation had lost interest in cane farming.
One of the reasons discussed was that the younger generation had opted for white collar jobs and greener pastures over working in farms.
Lt-Col Vaniqi said such situation was faced by farmers in the sugar industry, apart from the expiry of land leases.
Field officers told Lt-Col Vaniqi that farmers had also sent their children for further studies outside Labasa so to receive better education and jobs leaving the elderly remaining on cane farms.
Lt-Col Vaniqi assured those present at the meeting that government was committed to revitalising the sugar industry at any cost.
He said new strategies were being discussed and he urged farmers and field workers to work with them to take the industry forward.
Tonnage of cane production in Labasa was also mentioned with the sector of Wailevu outside Labasa Town now producing 93,000 tonnes compared to the 186,000 tonnes in the "glory days".
At Wainikoro Sector outside Labasa, farmers used to harvest 81,000 tonnes of cane compared to today's 22,000 tonnes. This is equivalent to 73 per cent loss of cane production.
Daku Sector used to produce 112,000 tonnes of cane but now produces 33,000 tonnes.
For farmers in Natua, Seaqaqa, they used to supply about 50,000 tonnes of cane which has now been reduced to 25,000 tonnes.

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