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Fiji Time: 10:37 PM on Friday 18 April

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Mills have to improve efficiency, says Sugar Ministry executive

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

RARAWAI sugar mill in Ba was hailed the best performer for the 2011 season.

Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said the country's other factories Labasa, Lautoka and Penang in Rakiraki would have to improve production efficiency if the Fiji Sugar Corporation was to move towards self-sufficiency and operate as a viable concern.

"Mill performance was a big issue because it not only affected production but also led to high operating costs," Lt-Col Vaniqi said.

"Labasa, Lautoka and Penang recorded Tonnes Cane to Tonnes Sugar (TCTS) of 12.5 while Rarawai was around 11 TCTS has to come down," he said. Lt-Col Vaniqi said it cost FSC $1.45 to produce a kilogram of sugar while other sugar producing nations did the same for $1.09.

"We have to produce our sugar for around $1.09 if we are to break even so operational costs must come down. And this is something we are working towards because at the end of the day, government does not want to own FSC, the corporation must be able to operate and stand on its own," Lt-Col Vaniqi said.

FSC crushed 2,247,000 tonnes of cane and produced 168,000 tonnes of sugar recording an average TCTS of 13 in 2009.

This was significantly reduced in 2010 with the crushing of 1,780,000 tonnes of cane and production of 132,000 tonnes of sugar resulting in an average TCTS of 14.