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Mechanical harvester business being watched

Mechanical harvester business being watched
(First on the right) Fiji Competition and Consumer chief executive officer Joel Abraham doing a cost audit with mechanical harvester operators.
August 12
11:00 2017

 

The Commission has received numerous complaints from mechanical harvester operators regarding the new rate for them to harvest sugar cane, as confirmed by Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham.

As of the 1st of this month, the new rate for Mechanical Harvesters had reduced to $17.50 per tonne.

Mr Abraham said no one came to the Commission since the announcement of the intention to reduce the cost until the implementation date, 1st August.

He added that after the change was implemented, people have complained saying that it takes six hours to cut a tonne of cane which is contrary to the data collected by the Commission in the field.

An extensive review and wide consultations were made before the implementation of the new rate took place.

The Commission’s involvement in the matter began when it noticed that there was one or two harvesters per area, said Mr Abraham.

He added that this has created a monopoly and sometimes a duopoly situation whereby the bargaining power between the cane farmer and harvester owner is affected.

The Commission is closely monitoring the market since the new price came into effect, to ensure that the owners of harvesters are correctly charging the farmers through the Fiji Sugar Corporation payment system.

Pursuant to Section 52 of the Commerce Commission Act 2010, the buying or selling of price controlled goods and services at a price greater than the maximum fixed price is an offence.

The owners of mechanical harvesters are therefore expected not to engage in any form of anti-competitive conduct and must comply particularly to the provisions of:

n Section 53 – Refusal to sell at maximum prices

n Section 54 – Prices to be indicated

n Section 56 – Records

n Section 69 – Exclusive Dealing

n Section 87G– Hoarding

Breaches to the Commerce Commission Act 2010 may attract penalties.

The above authorized price shall remain in force unless earlier amended, varied or revoked by the Commission.

Members of the public are advised to report any likely breach of the Commerce Commission Act 2010 to their nearest Fiji Commerce Commission offices located at Lautoka, Labasa and Suva.

Feedback:  monica.aguilar@fijisun.com.fj

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