SUNBIZ

Sugar To Rake In $150 Million In Export This Year

Total sugar cane production for this season has now been officially placed at around 1.85 million tonnes with total sugar export earnings expected to be approximately $150 million.
07 May 2020 17:19
Sugar To Rake In $150 Million In Export This Year
From left: Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture Ritesh Dass, Permanent Secretary for Sugar Industry Yogesh Karan, Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy, Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark. Photo: Charles Chambers

Total sugar cane production for this season has now been officially placed at around 1.85 million tonnes with total sugar export earnings expected to be approximately $150 million.

The total sugarcane crop is 10 percent short of the estimated two million tonnes forecasted at the beginning of the year.

The update on this season’s sugar production came during the launch of the rice planting initiative for sugarcane farmers at the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji in Drasa, Lautoka, yesterday.

In providing this update, Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark said the drop in the crop estimate was due to Tropical Cyclone Harold.

This ravaged cane farms in Sigatoka, Rakiraki and the North, most of which were inundated with flood water.

Mr Clark praised the Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy and his ministry for the speedy implementation of the rice seedling initiative for cane farmers.

Rice seedling initiative

With the 12,000 cane farmers in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture together with the sugar industry stakeholders were hopeful that if all farmers planted one acre of rice, half of Fiji’s total consumption problem would be solved.

“We have a role to play and make this a success,” Mr Clark said.

He said FSC had started advertising for the hiring of cane cutters in preparation for the harvesting season.

“We have an opportunity for people who are unemployed to earn some money in the sugar industry.”

Mr Clark also said a programme to train Fijians to operate the mechanical cane harvesters has already started.

With the start of crush dates for the three mills (Labasa-10th June, Rarawai- 23rd June and Lautoka-24th June), FSC was looking to have a 22 week crushing season which should finish towards the end of November.

Mr Clark said FSC was looking towards producing from between 195,000 to 200,000 tonnes of sugar.

Of this the company will export 170,000 tonnes to its major markets in five bulk shipments between July and December along with 80,000 tonnes of molasses in bulk exports from August to December.

The remaining 30,000 tonnes would be for the regional markets and local consumption.

Meanwhile, Mr Clark said cane farmers could expect their fourth cane payment for the 2019 crop before the end of this month.

Mr Clark said the forecast cane price for the 2020 crop was expected to be made next week.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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