SUNBIZ

Lautoka Sugar Mill Expected To Gain Momentum

The Lautoka mill began crushing three weeks after its scheduled date following damage to a Forced Draft fan blade which has since been repaired.
20 Jul 2020 15:50
Lautoka Sugar Mill Expected To Gain Momentum
The Lautoka sugar mill is expected to operate full swing from this week. Photo: Charles Chambers

Sugar cane harvesting for the Lautoka mill area is expected to gain momentum this week.

Sugar Cane Growers Council acting chief executive officer Sunil Chaudhary said growers were hesitant to hire cane cutters as the mill was still not at full capacity.

The Lautoka mill began crushing three weeks after its scheduled date following damage to a Forced Draft fan blade which has since been repaired.

“The Lautoka mill is settling and a lot of cane has been cleared,” Mr Chaudhary said.

Work together

The mills, as the case is every year, usually takes a couple of weeks for all sections to work together.

“Growers are not rushing to get cutters because the mill was not running fully so once this happens, cutters are hired,” Mr Chaudhary said.

“Hiring them before that would see farmers expenses rise as they would have to continue providing meals, if the mill was not running to full capacity.

“At present some gangs have already been hired, but not all of these gangs are operating.

“Growers are very eager to harvest, as this is the peak time because of the cold nights and the dry weather.”

Green cane and cane fires

Mr Chaudhary said because of the high sugar content in cane right now, growers should harvest green cane.

“Towards the end of the season, a lot of dry leaves are in the sugar cane fields which is when cane cutters complain,” he said.

“Most farms are then burnt before harvesting.”

There have been 15 reported cane farm fires in the Lautoka mill area since harvesting began, with some being deliberately burnt by unknown people.

“Most of these cane farms that had been deliberately lit have had their fires brought under control by the farmers in time,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“Cane farms are being patrolled by police now, and I has sought the police department’s assistance in conducting community policing in the cane farm areas.”

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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