Today marks another historic occasion for Sugar Cane Growers Fund for partnering with– Business Link Pacific in bringing an alternative livelihood project for cane farmers.
Business Link Pacific is a project delivery unit of DT Global. The institution is fully funded by the New Zealand Government. Business link Pacific has made available $600,000.00 FJD and a further 96000 as grant to farmers under and an agreed SME scheme.
Some 13 months ago our management team under the leadership of our CEO started discussions with Business Link Pacific. This was when we were told that there were funds available for our cane farmers under an alternative livelihood scheme. The major requirement was that the recipients of this funding had to engage in complementary agricultural products as a SME venture.
This led to numerous discussions with our industry stakeholders. This included significant discussions with Ministry of Agriculture. After a number of evaluations and considering the present-day climate challenges it was agreed that the loan funding be utilized to establish ginger farming within the cane belt areas.
The process then involved seeking expressions of interest from suitable farmers to get involved in this project. We must thank the Agricultural field officers who have provided initial farm prequalification. The Agricultural Officers also made recommendations as to the areas where ginger planting was suitable. I must sincerely thank the Hon Minister Reddy at this juncture as he has personally made sure that resources were made available to fast track the project.
The selection of all farmers who have qualified under this scheme was made by the Ministry of Agriculture. This was based on the suitability of the farms for Ginger planting. This project is being trailed in Viti Levu only. So far we have received 84 applications. The total funding available under this scheme is 600K plus a 96000 grant.