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Committee, FSC Labasa Mill Talk Big Sugar Issues

Despite poor attendance at the Parliament Standing Committee for Economic Affairs, the public consultation on sugar reform bill continued as scheduled. The committee chairperson Lorna Eden and the members, Vijay
15 Jun 2016 09:38
Committee, FSC Labasa Mill Talk Big Sugar Issues
Standing Committee on for Economic Affairs member Prem Singh (left) asking questions while Viliame Gavoka and chairperson Lorna Eden (left) listens during the public consultation on sugar reform bill at Labasa Civic Centre yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

Despite poor attendance at the Parliament Standing Committee for Economic Affairs, the public consultation on sugar reform bill continued as scheduled.

The committee chairperson Lorna Eden and the members, Vijay Nath, Brij Lal, Viliame Gavoka and Prem Singh used their time discussing matters with Fiji Sugar Corporation Labasa mill general manager Karia Christopher and farm advisory manager Amirka Prasad.

They discussed a number of issues raised by the farmers highlighted in Seaqaqa the previous day and the Committee also asked them to explain some of the operations of Labasa Mill.

Mr Christopher informed the committee at the Labasa Civic Centre that there were many farmers producing less than 50 tonnes of cane.

“Sometimes we are in lot of trouble because farmers burn their cane. When we visit their farm we find that there was more weed than cane.

“What are your views on small farmers producing less cane if are taken out of the industry and let them do something else,” Mr Singh questioned Mr Christopher.

He replied: “It would be good because it is no use covering a large piece of land with less cane.

“We want to establish large production and better quality cane and we can do it.”

Mr Singh asked, if that out of the four mills, Labasa was more on the winning side producing better sugar, then why there was a need of more quality cane.

Mr Christopher responded: “I believe we can achieve better targets and still there are many farmers who can contribute.”

Mr Gavoka responded that in Viti Levu there was a major issue on transportation cost.

“There is a determination by the company to go back to the railway system,” Mr Gavoka said.

“It will cost a bit to speed up the railway system. Can you give us an indication of how much to spend each year to bring back speed of railway system.”

Mr Christopher said he believes that the railway network system was there.

“We have improved a number of areas and this year again as usual maintenance work has been done,” he said.

After the public consultation, the committee visited sites in Labasa Town.

They will continue with the visits today.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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