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Cane quality payment

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, October 08, 2012

SUGARCANE farmers in the country will be remunerated based on the quality of their harvested crop, starting next year.

Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan said after lengthy discussions on the matter, a cane quality payment system had been identified as best suited for the country's four mills.

"It's called a near infra red (NIR) system. We have gone through all the literature and given government the budget," he said.

"We will know better once the budget announcement is made in November and soon after that we will be into it and getting it ready for next season.

"And the way this system works is that cane coming in through the rail network or through trucks will be tested through the NIR system and payment deduced based on the quality of harvested crop."

Mr Khan said the NIR system was widely used and recognised in mills in many countries. NIR uses an inferential analysis method that allows for the direct measurement of fibre and sugar content from each sample.

Tate and Lyle consultant Dan Boodhna had previously informed sugar industry stakeholders that a cane quality payment system had to be introduced to improve efficiency and sugar production.

He also said Fiji was one of the few sugar-producing countries that paid farmers by tonnage and not on the quality of crop produced.

"One of the biggest hindrances to the sugar industry is the fact that farmers are paid according to weight," he had said at a press conference earlier this year.

"Fiji is one of very few countries in the world where growers are paid on weight and not on sugar content.

"Because of the nature of the cane payment system in use, growers predominantly planted the Mana variety because of its weight and as a result farmers were getting paid but the FSC was finding difficulty in getting sugar out of the cane," Mr Boodhna had said in Lautoka in March.


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