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Fiji Time: 6:40 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Miller announces crushing deadline

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, December 13, 2012

SUGARCANE growers in Ba, Tavua and Lautoka are being urged to transport all harvestable cane to the Rarawai mill in Ba no later than Saturday.

The message from the Fiji Sugar Corporation came as December 16 was announced as the termination of crush date for Rarawai mill.

"Every bit of cane that is harvestable should be brought to the Rarawai mill by Saturday," said FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan.

"This goes for farmers supplying Lautoka as well as those that traditionally supply Rarawai as well."

Mr Khan said standover cane issues would be dealt with once the Rarawai mill had ceased crushing and field officers had time to assess the amount of standing crop that would be left.

"Looking forward, putting natural phenomenon aside, we envisage a very good season in 2013 and should bounce back with a two million tonne or more harvest," he said.

The closure of Rarawai mill this weekend will signal the end of a largely successful season for the country's only sugar miller and a challenging one for growers and transport providers brought about by the two floods in January and March and ensuing issues with cane access roads and labour shortages.

In an effort to address the labour issue, inmates from the Lautoka and Ba Corrections Centre were hired to harvest cane.

West Prisons Supervisor Oliver Fisher revealed to this newspaper that 60 inmates earned $30,000 from harvesting 2000 tonnes of cane. The government allocated $3.5million towards cane access road rehabilitation and initiated the formation of a Cane Access Road Committee to oversee the prudent use of the funds.