PM Clear: No More Sugar Mill Inefficiency

Key issues evident in the report we are compiling is the need for better farm management.
19 Feb 2019 16:05
PM Clear: No More Sugar Mill Inefficiency
Fiji Sugar Corporation Lautoka Mill

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear to the Fiji Sugar Cor­poration that he does not want any breakdowns caused by inefficien­cies experienced last year to hap­pen again this year.

Permanent Secretary for Sugar, Yogesh Karan, in an interview said the message from the PM as the Minister of Sugar was clear.

“I had a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer (Graham Clark) of FSC and our discussions cen­tered on the consultations that have just been completed throughout the sugar cane areas in Fiji,” M Karan said.

“I have asked him that there needs to be a very strong preventive main­tenance plan for all the mills.

“Last season we had trouble with mill breakdowns caused by mill in­efficiencies and the message from the Minister (Mr Bainimarama) is very clear.

“We have to eliminate all inef­ficiencies in all the mills and Gra­ham is going to work on that.


“One of the key issues that was very evident in the report we are compiling is the need for better farm management.”

Mr Karan said the main focus was on the increase of yield from 45 tonnes per hectare to 60 tonnes on every sugar cane farm that has land suitable for cane farming.

“Imagine the crop we would have if this was done.

“It requires a lot of attention and work by the Sugar Research Insti­tute of Fiji which has only one per­son in the north and this needs to be increased.

“That single worker can’t cover a wide area advising farmers on timings of fertilisers and other ad­vices.

Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF)

Mr Karan said expert advice needs to be readily available and this could not happen with one employ­ee from SRIF.

“This would also involve the field officers from FSC so until we improve this we cannot really in­crease the yield.

“Some years ago farmers were trained in some of these aspects but that has faded away over the years.”

He said some new farmers have come in without expert advice con­tinue to use the ratoons, some as old as 20 years.

“This along with poor farm man­agement were other reasons why production has not increased.

“I have told the CEO of FSC (Mr Clark) that there must be a robust programme in place to ensure that farmers are well assist to have an effective farm management pro­gramme in place.

The shift on farmers’ stance from mainly confrontational in the past to more of working together nowa­days has not gone unnoticed too by Mr Karan.

“We want to work much closer with the farmers so next (this) week, I will be meeting with the Sugar Cane Growers Council and will want regular reports from all sugar sectors.

”They have to make an effort to visit all farmers so that we prepare for the new crushing season well.

“My concerns have been with the sector officers and this is what farmers have told me.

“So these problems brought up by farmers on sector officers needs to be dealt with immediately.”

Mr Karan said these consulta­tions could be carried out annually, before the crushing begins so that new policies could be developed and implemented.

“I am confident that Government’s funding for the cane industry has been well received but we need to bring in technology where we see how much is the return per hec­tare on money we give in grants for farmers.”


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