Fifty-four cane access roads in the Koronubu sugarcane sector in Ba will soon be upgraded, thanks to a FJD$3.755 million partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Pacific Community (SPC) Rural Access Roads and Associated Infrastructure (RARAI) project.
The upgrading works fall under the Koronubu Phase II program and complement work currently being undertaken under the Koronubu Phase I stage. When completed, Phase II will benefit around 366 cane farmers and their families by reducing time and costs to transport cane between their farms and the Rarawai mill in Ba.
“This project tackles a key challenge for farmers, especially in the more remote areas of Fiji, by easing the transportation of sugarcane to the mills. This is an important element in the EU’s ongoing support to the sugar sector in Fiji. The project intends to deliver all-weather cane access roads through rehabilitation works, notably improvement of drainage systems. In addition, it will mean people will enjoy improved accessibility to basic facilities in terms of health, education, markets and public administration,” said Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific.
“SPC is proud to partner with the EU in this undertaking,” SPC Director General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said. “With upgrading works entering the final phase in Koronubu, the project continues to work closely with the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) and other pertinent partners to maintain the upgraded roads to acceptable standards over the long term, ultimately aiming to reduce transportation costs and time for cane farmers.“
The RARAI project is working closely with the Fiji Sugar Corporation, Ministry of Sugar Industry and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in trying to address transportation challenges for farmers.
The RARAI project is a 48-month EURO 13m project that is implemented under the 2013 Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) Programme, ‘Support to Sugarcane Industry Programme’. It is being funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) and runs from January 2015 to January 2019. The project’s specific objective is to ‘reduce social, economic and environmental vulnerability of farmers and mill workers impacted by sugar reforms through improving the condition of cane access roads and associated infrastructure’.
The expected key results of the RARAI project are: (i) improved watershed management in three specific sugarcane sectors through rehabilitation and maintenance of cane access roads, including associated rural infrastructure; (ii) increased community/household income through inclusion in the rehabilitation and maintenance of cane access roads, including associated rural infrastructure; and (iii) establishment of a road maintenance system.
Debbie Singh, SPC Sugar Projects Communications Specialist │ Email: [email protected]