Labasa Mill Back on Target

The main purpose of the visit was to inspect the condition of the mill and how the crushing season was progressing.
02 Oct 2023 18:58
Labasa Mill Back on Target
Nord Tokyo Panama vessel berth at Malau Jetty in Labasa on September 30, 2023. Photo: Shratika Naidu

As of September 30, the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) Labasa Mill crushed 41,9319 tonnes of sugarcane to produce 41,674 tonnes of sugar.

The Tonnes Cane to Tonnes of Sugar (TCTS) ratio was around 10.

When the crushing season began on May 30, the Labasa Mill also produced electricity through its co-generation system, located within the mill area.

Since then, it has sold about $1.3million worth of this electricity to Energy Fiji Limited (EFL). Within 24 hours on September 29, the mill exported about $18,000 worth of electricity to EFL.

These were revealed to the Minister for Sugar, Charan Jeath Singh, by the various mill department heads and general manager Leela Ramesh, during the minister’s tour of the mill last Saturday.

The minister was also accompanied by one of the FSC board of directors, Nitya Reddy.

The main purpose of the visit was to inspect the condition of the mill and how the crushing season was progressing.

During this crushing season, the Labasa Mill exported 21,000 tonnes of sugar to the United Kingdom in the first shipment from Malau Jetty in August.

Today it is expected to send the second shipment of 18,820 tonnes of sugar bound for the UK on the Nord Tokyo Panama vessel from Malau Jetty.

One more sugar shipment and one molasses shipment are expected to be carried out.
TCTS to be reduced to seven

“There were some teething problems at the beginning of the crushing season such as rainy weather conditions leading to low supply of cane to the mill which forced the mill to stop the operation many times,” Mr Singh said.

“The initial target of Labasa Mill was to achieve 600,000 tonnes of cane, however, discussion is going on to reduce the amount.”

He said after the annual general meeting (AGM) last Friday, they thought it was important for the board of directors to tour the mill and see what needed to be done urgently in the short term to increase the production of the mill and improve TCTS.

Mr Singh wants to see the TCTS ratio go from 10 to seven.

He said he was confident to see better results as now the Labasa Mill was on track.

About Nitya Reddy
Mr Reddy is the former accountant of FSC and a former Member of Parliament who migrated to New Zealand after the 1987 coup.

Mr Singh said he had requested Mr Reddy to assist the Fiji sugar industry.

“All the mills in Fiji are about 140-years-old and we have asked all the mill management to carry out assessment and tell us what needs to be done,” he said.

He said the Government had given a lot of money to the sugar industry and he wanted to make sure it was used in the right way.

Mr Reddy said he was working as a chartered accountant in New Zealand and was happy to be in Fiji and provide his assistance.

Tentative date for Labasa Mill closure on October 25

Mr Ramesh is urging the farmers from 10 sectors in Labasa and Seaqaqa to quickly harvest their cane and not wait for the wet season.

“The estimated date that we are looking at to close the mill is around October 25,” he said.
“So, with the remaining few weeks, we are requesting farmers to make use of the dry season and assist us in meeting our target.”

He said the finalised date would be announced by the Sugar Tribunal as there were likely chances for extension.

It is believed that there are many farms left to harvest sugarcane.

Moreover, he said if farmers had issues, they should seek clarification and information from their respective sector office or visit or call him.


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