Four Chetty siblings buried their mother, a cane farmer, at Malele in Tavua on Monday.
Yesterday, a $1000 insurance pay out for the funeral expenses helped lift their burden of grief.
They are the first recipients of a $4000 insurance pay out to help cane farmers during their time of need, under a new scheme put together by sugar industry stakeholders.
The late Dhan Latchmi Chetty, took over the family farm and brought her children up after her husband, Jai Ram Chetty died in 2003.
Mrs Chetty died last Saturday after an illness. Daughter Ranjina Rakeshni, who now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, said: “We know our mum is happy as she looks down on us knowing that we are the first to receive the insurance payouts.”
“We only found out about this initiative from the other farmers living nearby, here in Malele, Tavua.”
“We were equally surprised and extremely grateful to the SCGF, SCGC, FSC and especially the Government who had simply done what no other government has done.”
“At least when we return home to Auckland and my elder sister Vandhana Vikashni to Melbourne, we know that our youngest brother, Avinesh Ram Chetty, will be looked after by the Government and the industry.”
“What is happening in the sugar cane farms right now is unprecedented and farmers are now happy that their problems were being sorted out and they can just continue with the business of cane farming.”
Her husband, Naveen Prakash, said the family were “over the moon with this insurance scheme.”
The eldest in the family, Ravinesh Ram Chetty, who lives in Lautoka is happy that their youngest sibling and his wife, Anjali, will continue to manage their family’s 14-acre farm which produces about 200 tonnes of cane annually.
Avinesh Chetty said he was indebted to his mum who taught him the ropes as he was the only one that was staying on the farm.
“I want to say thank you to Government and industry stakeholders.”
He said this incentive would boost his life on the cane farm and push him to get a higher yield next year.
The scheme is called Micro Insurance for Cane Growers and was mooted by Sugar Cane Growers Fund (SCGF) and supported by Government, Fiji Sugar Corporation and Sugar Cane Growers Council.
The registration of cane farmers for this scheme began last month with more than 4000 already signed up with the figure expected to reach 30,000.
This scheme sees the farmer not paying a cent for insurance and is only eligible through registration.
The SCGF pays $1 a week for each registered farmer and this covers Death Benefit ($4000), Personal Accident $3000 and $3000 for House Fire with Fiji Care Limited being the insurers.
Under the Death Benefit, when a farmer dies, his or her family receives $1000 immediately to help out for funeral expenses and an additional
$3000 is paid up after the Death Certificate is received. FSC Chief Operating Officer, Navin Chandra who was present, said the payout came at the right time as funeral expenses nowadays were not cheap.
He said this and other benefits being offered to the farmers were to help them improve cane farming and their lives.
“Because of all these initiatives cane growers were now looking at the industry more positively,” he said.
SCGC CEO Sundresh Chetty said the growers were really happy with this scheme and said the best part of it was that cane farmers would not pay a cent for premiums.
“I think it is a big day for all cane growers as now they are covered under this special insurance scheme,” Mr Chetty said.
Fiji Care Managing Director Peter McPherson said Government and the SCGF, SCGC and FSC should be commended for this scheme.
Bhim Sen, 77, also of Malele said he was happy and thankful to the industry stakeholders and Government.
“I never dreamed this day would come and I am happy that I have witnessed it.”
SOURCE: Fiji Sun