New access roads bring hope to sugarcane farming communities
Suva, Fiji – Over 30,000 people, including 2,000 sugarcane farmers in Fiji’s cane belt will now benefit from upgraded road and drainage works in the cane-farming areas of Koronubu, Drasa and Malolo, thanks to the European Union (EU) funded Rural Access Roads and Associated Infrastructure (RARAI) project.
The project, which is being implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), has just released a 15-minute film entitled “Cane Access Roads – Pathways of Hope,” which documents the work of the RARAI project and shares stories from beneficiaries and partners on its impacts in Malolo, Drasa and Koronubu.
The film has been released on SPC’s YouTube channel and can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/K67feEx2ITY
“The rehabilitation of roads and drainage is an important element in the EU's ongoing support to the sugar sector in Fiji. About 7,000 households have benefitted from the RARAI project, which translates to about 30,000 people overall. Farmers can use the road to transport sugar, but it will also be important for them to access markets for other products and will be beneficial for education, health and other community purposes,” said Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific.
“SPC is proud to partner with the EU and the Fiji Government in this undertaking,” SPC Director General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said. “We’re very pleased to have been able to contribute to the RARAI project in improving the lives and livelihoods of cane farmers and related communities and improving transport of cane. In Malolo, we expect to improve transportation for 65 percent of cane produced, in Drasa 90 percent and in Koronubu, 80 percent. These are significant improvements for local communities.”
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 in Fiji’s sugarcane belt.
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.
SPC is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting sustainable development since 1947. It is an international development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.