As written about quite recently, the months of June to December are the Sugar Cane Harvest season in Mauritius and around the island we will certainly spot both mechanical and manual harvesting of cane. Depending on the owners and facilities at their disposition, some would still employ manual workers who will be present very early mornings in the fields with their serps and would cut down the sugar cane stems to be later collected and embarked on the lorries. On the other side, more on large fields, machines specially designated for cane harvest would cut down the sugar canes, separate the leaves and automatically drop them in the carriers following them on their sides; the Sugar Cane is directly loaded in the trucks… the modern era.
We have met a few of these workers seriously at work in the fields one early morning and this will certainly touch your heart and feelings to see those lads, mostly older men and women, active at cutting down the stems of sugar canes, and they are paid by the weightage they harvest. How much? Well, the average obtains Rs 175 per ton of sugar cane harvested. Does this compensate the effort invested? Only they can tell.
On the other side, after the canes are harvested, they are then loaded, either manually or by fork machines, into the trucks waiting in the fields… and we are specially interested in those old lorries which are still doing these jobs, the old bedford J6 models (Gallery here). We have met most of them early mornings at the Sugar Factory watching them unload their carriage for further processing. These proud owners can talk a lot about their trucks and certainly value them dearly. After all, they are becoming very rare on our roads and wherever they are spotted they are very much admired. Some have related being tourists attractions, and we believe them certainly.
Bedford J6 Gallery: Unloading Sugar Cane at the MDA Factory
These mighty lorries are said to be tougher than all these new lorries (Mitsubishi etc) and can reach areas in the fields than those newer ones can’t even access. They roll on everything.