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Fiji Time: 11:37 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Flood damage up to $30m

Sophie Foster
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A REPORT assessing the impact of flood on the nation's stock of cane will be ready Friday but early estimates show damage in the region of $30milion.

Sugar Cane Growers Council chairman Jain Kumar said damage to crops alone was "about $25m to $30million".

Mr Kumar said the situation was "very bad" for the industry.

"There's been extensive damage to cane areas. In some cases, growers have lost 100 per cent of their crop. The situation is very bad. In some areas, landslides have damaged farms and houses too. I believe many cane farmers will have nothing to earn this year," he said.

The comments come as the board of sugar's biggest body, Fiji Sugar Corporation, finds out today how much damage the mills and other sugar infrastructure sustained in the floods.

The FSC board will meet for the first time this year in Lautoka under the new chairmanship of Native Land Trust Board chief executive Alipate Qetaki.

FSC chief executive Deo Saran said a meeting was scheduled for today. Some of the biggest cane-producing areas from Ra to Sigatoka were affected by flood and heavy rainfall earlier this month.

Mr Kumar said the SCGC damage report would be presented to the interim Government and other organisations which could help revive the industry.

"If there is no assistance provided, many farmers will give up," he said.

Among the worst affected areas, where 100 per cent of the crop has been wiped out are, Navatu, Votua and other low-lying zones and all farms close to the river bank, Mr Kumar said.