NEWS

Cane Crush Forecast 1.8M Tonnes: PM

“In an unprecedented move to benefit our growers, we introduced a guaranteed price per ton for all cane growers in Fiji and we’ve also introduced a bundled insurance initiative which, at no cost to our growers, provides insurance pay-outs to them, and their families, in the event of personal injuries, fire, or death.”
01 Dec 2019 12:53
Cane Crush Forecast 1.8M Tonnes: PM
At the International Sugar Organisation Council meeting in London: From left: Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji Sugar Corporation chairperson Vishnu Mohan, Permanent Secretary to the PM’s Office Yogesh Karan and Fijian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Jitoko Tikolevu on November 30, 2019. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

When sugarcane crushing ends in three weeks, the country’s sugar mills will have crushed 1.8 million tonnes.

That’s the forecast, confirms Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He told the 56th session of the International Sugar Organisation council in London yesterday: “That is up from around 1.6 million last year and in 2017.”

Mr Bainimarama said the change had happened because Fiji had replaced tradition with innovation and incentives to help farmers increase production. This was backed by ongoing research and more efficient mill processes.

He thanked the British Government for hosting the session and ISO members for voting Fiji in as Vice Chairman of the Administrative Committee for the council meeting next July.

“Fiji may not rank among the world’s largest sugar producers, regardless, our experiences hold invaluable lessons. As a Pacific nation, we’ve overcome challenges of geography to build global networks of distribution for Fijian-made, sewn and grown products,” he said.

“As a climate-vulnerable economy, we are fast becoming a global hub of innovation in building agro-resilience.  And, in the face of rising volatility in the sugar market, we’ve deployed smart policies to grant our cane growers stability and help them seize new opportunities.”

“We look forward to sharing our perspective in depth through our Vice Chairmanship next year.”

He said Fiji had built a proud reputation among world buyers for producing high quality sugar. But, he added quality alone could not guarantee success in a market where global supply was ominously outweighed by demand.

“To secure sustainable prosperity for our growers – and every family that relies on the success of Fijian sugar – we must not only build resilience to the impacts of a changing climate but to the changing dynamics of the world market,” he said

“Adapting to these realities means completely re-imagining how we grow cane and how we run cane farms in Fiji, doing away with tradition in favour of innovation.”

 

Manufacturing process

He said every sugar mill in Fiji now adhered to Good Manufacturing Processes – enforced by Integrated Quality Management Systems.

“To cement our progress, we’re investing in the next generation of mill operators, affording young graduates the opportunity to gain hands-on experience training in our mills under the Apprenticeship, Trainee Tradesman Stream and an Engineer Training Programme.

“Recently, we established a Tissue Culture Laboratory that paves the way to larger-scale production of clean seed material that we can rapidly distribute across our cane farms.

“We’re introducing natural mill mud and green manuring techniques in favour of chemical fertilisers and herbicides, and we’ve outright banned Paraquat and Imidacloprid insecticide.

“And as we make these transitions, we’re dramatically reducing the cost burden on our farmers, subsidising input costs as well as the costs of mechanisation, harvesting and of transporting cane to mills.

“In an unprecedented move to benefit our growers, we introduced a guaranteed price per ton for all cane growers in Fiji and we’ve also introduced a bundled insurance initiative which, at no cost to our growers, provides insurance pay-outs to them, and their families, in the event of personal injuries, fire, or death.”

But, he said, the reforms would mean little if the world “doesn’t get serious about addressing the ravages of climate change.”

“I’ve addressed this Council in the past on Fiji’s leadership abroad to sound the alarm on the climate emergency,” he said.

“This isn’t a Fijian problem, this isn’t a Pacific problem, this is a global crisis the likes of which humanity has never before seen.

“No nation and no person on earth will be spared the consequences. Certainly, no cane farmer can count themselves exempt.

“I will be in Madrid next week to attend the UN climate negotiations at COP25 where once again Fiji will join the world’s climate champions in demanding the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“For us, the goalposts of these negotiations have not shifted an inch.

“We must limit global temperature rise to the 1.5-degree Celsius target to ensure the survival of the world’s most vulnerable economies and long-term prosperity and security for our farmers and the families who rely on their success.”

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