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FSC Cannot Do Any Special Cane Payment, Says Biukoto

The Fiji Sugar Corporation told cane farmers in Tavua and Rakiraki they do not have money to pay  for any special cane payment. FSC acting chief executive Mikaele Biukoto told
15 Jan 2017 11:00
FSC Cannot Do Any Special Cane Payment, Says Biukoto
Rakiraki farmer Pushp Chandra Naidu raises a point during the meeting on Friday. Photo: CHARLES CHAMBERS

The Fiji Sugar Corporation told cane farmers in Tavua and Rakiraki they do not have money to pay  for any special cane payment.

FSC acting chief executive Mikaele Biukoto told farmers in Rakiraki that the company’s financial position was “in the red.”

Concerns raised by farmers in these areas on Friday centred mainly on a special cane payment.

Satish Chand, of Korotale in Ra, said the farmers were finding it hard to get their children ready for school.

Cane farmers usually receive a special cane payment before the start of each new school year.

“We are going through very hard times,” Mr Chand said.

“We are requesting the Government of the day to assist us farmers so that our children will be ready for school.”

However, this year, FSC has not been able to fulfil that gesture.

Mr Biukoto told farmers, including those at Barotu that 2016 was a disastrous year for the sugar industry with Cyclone Winston and the floods causing havoc in the cane fields.

“As a result FSC only crushed 1.3 million tonnes of sugar cane,” Mr Biukoto said.

He reiterated that FSC had made a $31 million loss for 2016.

Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karan told the farmers that this was compared to a normal good year where around 4.3 million is crushed.

Mr Biukoto told the farmers those special cane payments, like that for the start of a new school year, was done in the past where funds were available.

He said if proceeds from the sale of molasses or sugar were late, then FSC would dip into its own funds to make these special cane payments.

“Right now we cannot even do that as FSC has no money.”

Mr Karan said they have  stopped all major capital works at the sugar mills.

Edited by: Farzana Nisha

FeedBack: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 



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