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PM Gives Good News on Sugar Season

PM Gives Good News on Sugar Season
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on his way to the Parliament sitting yesterday. Photo: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji
August 25
12:59 2015

Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Industry, Voreqe Bainimarama, says the cane extraction this year is on par with the 2014 processing season when it was at record level.

He made these comments in Parliament yesterday responding to questions on the agenda raised by the Opposition party’s Biman Prasad on the sugar industry.

Mr Bainimarama revealed that in the cane processing season this year, the four mills have processed 796,886 tonnes of cane in total producing 93,435 tonnes.

This, he said, was with an average tonnes of cane per tonnes of sugar of 8.5. The figures were as of 8am Friday August 21.

In terms of weekly breakdown of production figures, Mr Bainimarama said 95,816 tonnes of cane has been processed on a weekly basis.

This is with an average crushing capacity of 895 tonnes per hour and crushing rate 817 tonnes per hour for all four mills combined.

Factors affecting crushing

Mr Bainimarama further highlighted there could be a number of factors that can affect the crushing rate.

These, he said, includes cane supply, the stopping and starting of the mills for various reasons and problems with ageing machinery.

“The FSC accepts that any stoppages is undesirable and is working with all stakeholders in the industry to minimise these disruptions,” he said.

“This is whether they are to do with harvesting, transporting or the processing of sugarcane.”

He revealed that the hours of mill stoppages caused by breakdowns or mechanical problems at each of the four mills for the 2015 season was as follows:

  • Lautoka Mill – 183 hours
  • Rarawai Mill – 214 hours
  • Labasa Mill – 117 hours
  • Penang Mill – 296 hours

Meanwhile, Mr Bainimarama said the hours of stoppages caused by outside factors or lack of cane supply due to bad weather or other conditions were as follows:

  • Lautoka Mill – 236 hours
  • Rarawai Mill – 95 hours
  • Labasa Mill – 98 hours
  • Penang Mill – 141 hours

 

Losses incurred

On the question of the losses incurred as a result of the stoppages, Mr Bainimarama said any delays caused are made up by extending the period of the crushing season.

“The FSC bares the cost of this plus any repairs to equipment,” he said.

“If there is a delay in the supply of sugar cane due to for example bad weather or lack of harvesting, any cost in this respect is also borne by FSC.

“When the mills breakdown, the FSC provides meals for lorry drivers who have to wait while the repairs are being carried out.”

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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