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Burnt Cane Rise A Concern

Burnt Cane Rise A Concern
burnt-sugarcane
September 20
11:14 2017

 

The significant rise in burnt cane being delivered to the Lautoka and Rarawai sugar mills long after being harvested is causing concern to the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC).

The company’s chief operating officer Navin Chandra said the problem was with cane being left in the fields 24 hours after it was burnt.

He was explaining this during the press conference on Monday at FSC.

“Burnt cane harvested and delivered to the mills within 24 hours is just as good as fresh cane,” Mr Chandra said.

“After that it starts to deteriorate and the longer it stays in the fields the worse off the cane gets.”

Currently farmers are given seven days to harvest and get their burnt cane to the mills but the longer the cane stays in the field, the higher the Tonne of Cane per Tonne of Sugar (TCTS).

Meanwhile, the FSC board which met on Monday has approved the purchase of 20 harvesters, tractors, farming equipment and trucks.

All this machinery will belong to FSC and hired out to farmers at a low rate.

FSC chief executive officer Graham Clark said the purchases would be done soon and this would mainly be used in the new season.

The harvesters, tractors and trucks would be hired out to farmers at very low costs but the main idea, according to Mr Clark would be to get the maximum out of the cane season.

Mr Chandra said the harvesters, tractors and farming equipment was priority and the trucks would be bought a little at a time.

Mr Clark said the more machines used on flat areas would see more cane cutters being utilised on hilly fields.

“We have had discussions with equipment suppliers about the machinery that can work on slightly elevated gradients but not the very steep one.

“It is fairly common elsewhere in the sugar industry for these machines to work on fairly shallow gradients.”

 

Sugar markets

Mr Clark said FSC did not want to lose access to the European market that was not governed by the economic partnership agreement.

“The European Union the UK will remain a market on duty free quote free terms.

“The difference is before we had a guaranteed price that is significantly above the world price that’s now being abolished and we have to now negotiate with customers in Europe to supply sugar priced against the world market.

“That is the same as we negotiate with anybody else.

“In addition Asian buyers will pay a good quality premium for the type of sugar that we are producing.

“The preferential price we had compared to the world price used to be three times the world market but it was cut in half and then cut again to equal the world market.”

 

Sunday crush

Mr Clark said they hoped to crush through on Sundays next season as what is presently happening where mills have to close down because of no supply of sugar cane.

 

Rail System

“No new section of rail has been resurrected as yet as we are just operating  as always on the existing network that we have.”

“The survey that we are about to start is we will look at the section that are used more than others which we will prioritise to refurbish first.”

On the cage-bin issues, Mr Clark said 18 cage bins have already been manufactured by FSC and are out and about in the system.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

 

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"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
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September 2017
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