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Sugar Is Here To Stay: Yogesh Karan

The sugar industry is here to stay, Permanent Secretaryfor Sugar, Yogesh Karan, said during a meeting with sugar industry stakeholders yesterday. Mr Karan said the industry had persisted despite some
07 Oct 2021 11:00
Sugar Is Here To Stay: Yogesh Karan
Permanent secretary for Sugar, Yogesh Karan, (second from left) and Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Fund chief executive officer, Raj Sharma, (far left) in Lautoka. Photo: Shreya Kumar.

The sugar industry is here to stay, Permanent Secretaryfor Sugar, Yogesh Karan, said during a meeting with sugar industry stakeholders yesterday.

Mr Karan said the industry had persisted despite some earlier hiccups.

“COVID-19 had affected us all; from production to the state of mills,” he said.

“We could not begin with harvesting as our borders were closed, so mechanical operators couldn’t come into the country.”

 

The global pandemic allowed the industry to train locals as machine operators and technicians.

“We may not have the expert skills, but they have been a good fit in these trying times,” he said.

“I think it’s a lesson for all of us that we cannot be dependent on overseas experts.”

 

Local expertise
Mr Karan said it was important to develop local expertise.

“This industry has created jobs,” he said.

“We haven’t had the issue of anyone calling to say there was a shortage of harvesters.

“This is simply because many former employees from the tourism industry have shifted to agriculture at the onset of COVID-19.”

 

Mr Karan said mechanization had filled the necessary gaps in harvesting of cane.

“The more mechanisation, the better.

“There are plans to focus on mechanisation which could be used in high terrains,” he said.

“The outlook of the industry is good,” Mr Karan said.

“Land preparation is going well for planting, as we approach the end of the crushing season.

“We are hopeful for a good season.”

 

Labasa
In another development, all cane in Labasa is expected to be crushed by tomorrow, Mr Karan.

He said the extension of crushing was not being considered at the Labasa mill.

“Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) expects to crush all cane by Friday” he said.

Mr Karan has advised all cane growers to contact FSC should they face any difficulties.

The Sugar Tribunal had earlier announced crushing to be terminated at the Labasa mill today.

 

Feedback: shreya.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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