SUNBIZ

We’re On Brink Of Turnaround, Lautoka Starts

The start of this year’s crushing signalled a significant time for the sugar industry in Fiji. During the opening of the crushing at the Lautoka Mill yesterday, Fiji Sugar Corporation
07 Jun 2017 10:25
We’re On Brink Of Turnaround,  Lautoka Starts
Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark watches one of the first drops of sugar cane into the carrier at the Lautoka Mill Photo: Charles Chambers.

The start of this year’s crushing signalled a significant time for the sugar industry in Fiji.

During the opening of the crushing at the Lautoka Mill yesterday, Fiji Sugar Corporation Chief Executive Graham Clark said the sugar industry was of the brink of a recovery or turnaround.

“From 1.4 million tonnes of cane crushed last year, we are looking to 2 million tonnes this year.

“This is an important time for us as we plot a new direction for the industry.

“This is the mark of a new partnership between the farmers and us.

“We are positioning FSC as the promoter of sugar cane in Fiji.

“If there was no sugar cane all other stakeholders would be useless and that is why the farmers are the most important component here.

“Remember sugar is made in the cane fields and not in the factories,” said Mr Clark.

This year the Corporation hopes to crush around 800,000 tonnes of sugar cane in Labasa and 1.2 million tonnes for Viti Levu.

“Harvesting was a bit slow when starting because I think farmers wanted to see the mill start.

“But I got a report this morning and harvesting is a lot better and supply to the mill was increasing.

“We could have had more cane for the start of crush but farmers wanted to see the mill start first before beginning harvesting.

“Everyone is harvesting in Labasa so I really don’t know what the protest was about.”

In Lautoka, Mr Clark said harvesting was very positive and FSC was positive positive the mill could crush close to 503,000 tonnes of sugar cane.

Mr Clark said he was quite impressed with the quality of cane he saw at the mill yesterday.

“It was bit of a slow start but I have spoken with the lorry association and farmers and they have told me they will pick it up from today.

“Looking at 250 tonnes

per hour which is average but it depends on the supply coming in.”

Mr Clark said they wanted to get the TCTS down to 8,5 as compared to over 9 last year.

“It is a really positive start for the industry and I want everybody to be positive.”

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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