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Lautoka Mill Begins Crushing Today

Lautoka Mill Begins Crushing Today
A mechanical harvester at work at a sugar cane farm in Matawalu, Lautoka, on July 2, 2018. Crushing at the Lautoka mill starts today. Photo: Charles Chambers
July 03
10:00 2018

 

Crushing gets underway at the Lautoka sugar mill today in what is expected to be a busy season.

Cane farmers in Rakiraki, Tavua and Ba have been advised by the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) to start harvesting and have their cane delivered to the Lautoka Mill.

FSC’s chief operating officer Navin Chandra said they were encouraging growers in this area to start and not wait for the Rarawai Mill to start on July 17 so that money could begin to move around.

This would be by way of labourers getting paid, truck owners and drivers gaining income from usage for carting and eventually see the economy in these areas pick up.

Mr Chandra also advised cane farmers that they would not be worsened off with transport costs as extra cartage costs would be paid by FSC through the allocation announced in the National Budget.

“These farmers would be paying the normal cartage costs to the Rarawai Mill and the extra run to Lautoka would be subsidised.”

The Corporation has also called on farmers to deliver fresh green cane to the mill as soon as possible as this would be of greater benefit to all.

“We discourage any burning of cane as the sugar content would drop.”

Burnt cane has always been a problem at the mills as it usually slowed the processing of sugar.

Mr Chandra said as for the Labasa Mill which started recently, crushing figures should be reaching 30,000 tonnes per week by next week.

“At the beginning it is always slow but that should pick up by next week.”

“In Labasa, 50 per cent of the mechanical harvesters are not working as the operators from India are due in next week to run the machines.”

As for the Lautoka area, most of the Memorandum of Gang Agreements (MOGA) forms have been signed by the different harvesting crews and returned.

Mr Chandra has also encouraged farmers to start replanting soon after harvesting.

 Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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