Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On
Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in www.connectme.com.fj/news/opinion. I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.
"Sugar is Sweet and So are You*"
Where do we expect to see sugar production in twenty years time? The use of sugar will never cease. It is used in every walk of life. Many people have asked why the sugar industry is dying. There is a simple answer – sugarcane farmers no longer have land to plant on. It’s all gone back to the landowner. They have their reasons for leaving it idle, it’s up to them.
One sugarcane farmer and his family now have jobs in various companies around Lautoka. They often go back to visit the landowners and have a basin of yaqona with them. They are still friends. They have a meal together then they organize another “sitting”, sometimes it’s at the former cane farmer’s home. Oh, they get on like a house on fire.
When I meet the former cane farmers they usually say, “We miss the farm. We miss the hard work.” They planted sugarcane and alongside that they had their vegetable farm, which the landowner also ate from. Today they plant their vegetable in their town backyard and sell the surplus on the road. It's grog money, they tell me. And the landowner? He works in a supermarket packing potatoes and sweeping floors and now buys vegetables from the roadside. Oh, they still help each other out.
Sad situation, if you tell me. Why not get the landowner to lease the land to the real farmer. He will earn lease money and get free vegetables from his friend. Every so often when the cane farmer catches crabs the landowner will be invited to have a basin of grog, a cartoon of beer and surua crab curry.
What a waste. I wonder who is advising the landowners not to lease their land. But I know what can be done. Rain trees make good large ornamental vases. Or maybe we can export paragrass.
* Roses are red, voilets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. Old English children's rhyme.