NATION

Cane Crushing Season Starts June 10

Unlike last year, which saw many mill breakdowns, Mr Karan said the Ministry of Sugar is expecting a good crushing season for 2020.
23 May 2020 12:05
Cane Crushing Season Starts June 10
Cane cutters load a lorry with harvested cane at Ellington in Rakiraki.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation is expected to begin its crushing season on June 10.

This was confirmed on Thursday by the Permanent Secretary for Sugar and Foreign Affairs Yogesh Karan.

Unlike last year, which saw many mill breakdowns, Mr Karan said the Ministry of Sugar is expecting a good crushing season for 2020.

“I am reliably informed that maintenance programme has been completed and things are ready to go, with a few minor things that need to happen,” Mr Karan said.

He also highlighted that the corporation is faced with a tricky situation as most of their harvesters, operators and mechanics are from India. Due to the closure of borders in various countries around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the harvesters and their operators and mechanics will not be able to come to Fiji.

Mr Karan said if these harvesters were able to make their way to Australia or New Zealand, then Fiji Airways would be able to pick them up from either country.

“Again, I have had discussions with Fiji Airways and they are keen to help us on that. But the issue is getting them out of India and with the understanding that this is a lockdown period, so I am not seeing much there.”

He also highlighted that he had advised stakeholders to not get too dependent on foreign operators, but to instead train locals.

“The sticky issue here is these machines carry a warranty agreement and according to the agreement the warranty is only valid if they have their own trained operators to operate their machines,” he said.

Each machine cost $340,000.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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