$3.4m to help farmers

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

OVER the past two months, the Sugar Cane Growers Fund (SCGF) has approved a total of 509 applications worth $1.6 million and paid out close to $3.4m for 985 applicants to meet cane harvesting needs.

SCGF chief executive officer Raj Sharma said most of the assistance were for farm use, harvesting and the purchasing of cane trucks.

He said in various sections of the operations, SCGF was trying to strengthen its operational efficiency and improve on compliance and checks.

“SCGF is acquiring a new operating system for its operation that would not only bring up efficiency but improve its reach and representation, improve the data integrity and data security, reporting and of course service to our growers,” he said.

Mr Sharma explained the system would also lead to automation of the processes supported by modern technology and having the possibility of digitalization with other counter parties.

He said over the past six months, SCGF’s strategy has been focused on process improvements, documentation, policy environment, arrears management and audit implementation.

He added that the growers fund was also executing some of its long outstanding issues including collective agreement with Fiji Bank and Finance Sector Employees Union, which has been successfully concluded.

“On the process improvement, they have streamlined application turnaround times of loans and payments with checks and balances.

“They are also implementing the recent enacted Personal Property Security Act platform in loading the securities and expect to complete before October 2019, as required and that has also gone to a project verification of the securities before loading.”

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