SUNBIZ

Prime Minister: Report On Railway System Upgrade Soon

The Lautoka Mill last year crushed 613,000 tonnes of sugar cane with a TCTS of 8.6 tonnes and Mr Bainimarama was optimistic this year’s figure would surpass that.
14 Jun 2019 15:44
Prime Minister: Report On Railway System Upgrade Soon
Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the opening of the cane crushing season at the Lautoka Mill on June 13. Photo: Charles Chambers

The upgrade of Fiji’s rail system, utilised by the sugar industry, has attracted interest from the European Investment Bank.

Speaking during the opening the cane crushing season at the Lautoka Mill yesterday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said more announcements on this project to improve the rail system would be made soon.

“We look forward to receiving the report from the Indian Government to massively upgrade our railway systems to accommodate higher loads of freight, reducing cane cartage costs for cane farmers, all for the benefit of your profit margins.

“The European Investment Bank has also demonstrated interest in this project, and we’ll have more announcements to make on that project soon.”

New rail caged bins

Mr Bainimarama tipped over one of 40 new rail caged bins which were funded by the European Union for $650,000, which will mechanically ferry harvested cane and dramatically up the productive capacity of the Lautoka Mill.

The Lautoka Mill last year crushed 613,000 tonnes of sugar cane with a TCTS of 8.6 tonnes and Mr Bainimarama was optimistic this year’s figure would surpass that.

He said the sugar industry received $8 million more in the National Budget this year, despite the fact that the National Budget entered a period of fiscal consolidation and that they have not cut a single dollar from the support given to the sugar industry.

Despite a forecasted market price of around $50, farmers will continue to receive the guaranteed price of $85 per tonne. Government would also continue fertiliser subsidy which has gone up by 50 per cent since from 2016 to 2018.

“This year, we’re making that subsidy even more generous by raising it to $25.59 per tonne. And our funding towards the weedicide fertilisers will continue as well.”

So far the Fiji Sugar Corporation has acquired 32 tractors and will have 117 new six wheeler trucks this year that would be deployed to assist in the transportation of sugar cane to the mills.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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