FSC to assess sugarcane farms affected by stoppages

Shalen Naidu (left) and Ashneel Goundar brave the cold weather while waiting for their call outside the Lautoka sugar mill yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

SUGARCANE farms that were affected by mechanical issues at the Lautoka mill will be assessed by the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC).

This after the Lautoka factory suffered two stoppages last week, one for eight hours on Wednesday and another on Friday which lasted for more than 12 hours; both due to mechanical issues.

In a statement released last Friday, the FSC said farms would be surveyed.

“Commencing from July 9, 2018, FSC field staff will be contacting affected canefarmers to assess the impact of this once-off decision on their harvesting operations,” the miller said.

“FSC apologises for the inconvenience caused and is committed to getting its Lautoka mill up and running steadily in the shortest practical time.”

Canefarmers and their representative organisations had raised concerns about the cost of the stoppages to growers.
Farmers from Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki were preparing for the July 17 start of crush at the Rarawai mill in Ba.

However, the FSC had called on farmers from the three areas to cut and cart cane to the Lautoka mill with the FSC paying for the additional cartage costs.

Growers in the three areas, however, called on the FSC to also pay for the feeding and housing costs of labourers.

They claimed they were disadvantaged when the Lautoka mill developed mechanical issues.

Growers also called on FSC to bring forward the start of crush date for the Rarawai mill.

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