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Critical Factors In 2020 Cane Harvest, Karan Tells

Cane farmers will play the most critical role in the success of this year’s harvesting season. Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karaan, while saying this, said the performance of all
25 Jun 2020 15:36
Critical Factors In 2020 Cane Harvest, Karan Tells
The Rarawai Sugar Mill already into the 2020 crushing season on June 23, 2020. Photo: Charles Chambers

Cane farmers will play the most critical role in the success of this year’s harvesting season.

Permanent Secretary for Sugar Yogesh Karaan, while saying this, said the performance of all three mills was also crucial in that less tonnage of cane needed to be crushed to produce more sugar.

He was at Rarawai Mill on Tuesday to launch the 2020 crushing season he noted that the mill was looking at a crushing figure of 9.9 TCTS (tonne of cane per tonne of sugar) as compared to 10.9 last year.

Labasa Mill started two weeks ago and presently had a crushing rate of 10 TCTS.

Mr Karan said the challenge and aim for all three mills this year should be 9 TCTS or below.

“The most important element in this industry is the farmer because if you don’t have the raw material right, you won’t be able to achieve your target. So the farmer will play the most critical role this season.

“The important thing is that if you put effort on the farm, then of course the products are going to be good.

“If we have volume then we can increase the volume in the mills.’

Mr Karan said it would not be viable if cane farmers produce good cane and the mill operations were not performing.

“So if the cane farmer produced good cane and good supply and if the miller is not doing justice, the TCTS increases.

“In the good old days, the TCTS was low at around 8 but now it’s already at 10.

“This means we need more cane to produce the same volume of sugar.

“We must bring the TCTS down to lower 8 – FSC is saying 9 but it’s still too high because there will be losses.

“I understand that we have got old technology but don’t forget that there’s only one product, it is just sugar not multiple products, “ he said.

Mr Karan said he did not mean FSC was doing a bad job as at present they were “doing a terrific job compared to what the mill was doing four years ago.

“I hope that we are able to iron out all those teething issues from last year.”

Indian Government Railway Assistance

Mr Karan said talks were fruitful between Fiji and the Indian Government over assistance to the mill and upgrade the current rail system FSC was using.

In 2018, talks had already begun with Indian Government officials over the railway assistance.

Mr Karan had said then that India would be providing assistance for Fiji’s rail system to allow it for commercial and operation uses.

“We are expecting this to happen in a very short time and we are confident this will help improveand add to the level of productivity.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had met Indian Minister for Railways, Piyush Goyal in February 2018. He had expressed the urgent need to revolutionise Fiji’s existing railway network.

The idea was not only to cart far more cane by rail to the mills, but extend it to transport everyday passengers and cargo.

Mr Karan said on Tuesday COVID-19 had stalled talks which were ongoing.

“We were supposed to meet but because of the COVID-19 pandemic we had a bit of trouble.

“We are expecting a full detailed report and that is something we will need to work on.

“What FSC has done was an improvement in rail connectivity and the kilometres of rail.

“Repairs have been done and I think they have got two or three more locomotives out this season.”

Price of Sugar and Molasses

Meanwhile Mr Karan said the price of sugar and molasses had gone up and expectations were high on higher income on sales than last year.

“There are two factors which help me make this statement – one is that we are expecting bigger crop compared to last year and we are also expecting the world market price of sugar to increase,” Mr Karan said.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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