SUNBIZ

Cane Farmers To Have A Happy Diwali

Cane farmers around the country will tomorrow (FRI) receive the final cane payment of $3.90 per tonne of cane with the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Sugar Cane Growers Fund
01 Nov 2018 12:22
Cane Farmers To Have A Happy Diwali
Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark (left) and Registrar and Commissioner of the Sugar Industry Tribunal Timothy Bown at the announcment of the final cane payment on October 31, 2018. Photo: Charles Chambers

Cane farmers around the country will tomorrow (FRI) receive the final cane payment of $3.90 per tonne of cane with the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Sugar Cane Growers Fund both announcing they would not be making any deductions from the proceeds.

The payment brings the total payment to $85 per tonne and total proceeds of $125, $126, $202 that has been paid to cane farmers for the 2017 season.

This payment alone represents approximately $357,000.

The good news for farmers, ahead of Diwali, is that they will receive the full payment without any deductions.

While the Fiji Sugar Corporation confirmed they will not make any deductions yesterday, Sugar Cane Growers Fund Chief Executive Officer Raj Sharma also said that they too will not make any deductions from this payment.

“This will also go for those we had sent letters out to regarding deductions as they too will not have anything taken off this payment.”

Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty has welcomed the payment and thanked Government for its continued assistance towards farmers.

The other good news is that whilst Government had announced the guaranteed price of $85 per tonne for the next three years in the 2018-2019 National Budget, this has been brought forward to accommodate the 2017 cane payment.

The final ‘wash up’ payment per tonne was 22 cents with Government providing the top up of $3.68.

Registrar and Tribunal Commissioner Timothy Brown while making the announcement yesterday said the final payment was on the advice of the Accountant of the Tribunal and paid as per the Master Award.

Explaining the final payment and its mechanism, Mr Brown said this was all that has been left for the season after the final shipment had been made.

“Normally this is a small amount and under the Master Award there is no specific date that is given for the payment to be made,” he said.

The total price per tonne prior to Government’s top up was $81.10.

“Government’s continuous support for the sugar cane industry through development strategies such as cane replanting grants, subsidies on fertlisers and weedicides, farm mechanization grants, drainage and cane access roads has only reduced the cost of production tom the growers but has positively improved the industry,” Mr Clark said.

Mr Clark said the final payment amount represented the cash flow planning has benefitted the farmers.

“If we had a lot of money leftover now, it would have shown we would have distributed the money quick enough when the money came in from the sales,” he said.

“I am very pleased with the way the team has been able to collect all the money out and be left with 22 cents.

“For us as stakeholders this is very exciting.”

“Hopefully people can stop speculating now and we don’t want to set false expectations.”

Mr Clark said the $85 payment was above average for the past five years.

Mr Clark said next year’s price would depend on price and volume and it was noted that while the cane price had taken a dip this year there were signs of an improvement in price.

“We are seeing prices increase by 30 to 40 per cent compared to three months ago and that is good news for the pricing next year.

“We will continue to watch the market and I think is why we have been successful is we have taken positions where the market was running up and not doing anything when it was down.

“Prospects are improving for next year while island (Pacific Island countries) are picking up and is beginning to know Fiji is back now and Fiji sugar is being sought after.”

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

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