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The good news: The sugarcane processing season is well underway. So far some 95,000 tonnes of sugar has been produced at the country’s biggest mill, Lautoka.
The not-so-good news: Inconsistent supply of cane has been a problem with most mills, and especially Lautoka and Penang.
Farmers are once again being reminded to ensure the consistent supply to their respective mills.
What’s happening in the fields, and in the harvesting are coming under the spotlight.
A call to farmers by the Sugar Cane Growers Council follows continual concerns by the millers, Fiji Sugar Corporation, over low and inconsistent supply from the farms.
Previously, it was always easy for farmers to point fingers at the poor performance of mills. Now, the tables have been turned. Following the Bainimarama Government reforms mills are performing and they are performing better.
The onus now is with sugarcane growers.
The tonnes of cane to tonnes of sugar (TCTS) ratio has improved significantly.
The focus is now on the growers to produce more cane and get it harvested and delivered to the mills on time to take advantage of better cane payments.
Growers also need to be reminded: When the mills terminate processing, there will be no compensation for stand over cane if it is left in the fields due to a lack of effort.
The Government and the Fiji Sugar Corporation are doing much to ensure that best quality sugar is produced and the best price is given to growers.
The growers now need to look closely at issues such as planting, harvesting, supply of labour and transport.