SUGARCANE farmers have been warned they will be penalised for burning cane once the cane quality payment system is established.
The warning comes in the wake of 342 cane field fires recorded so far in the western and northern divisions in which 6000 tonnes of cane were burnt.
FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said growers needed to understand the implications of cane burning when the system takes over from the current payment based on weight.
"Under the cane quality payment system, burnt cane would register very different sucrose and fibre levels when compared to fresh green cane," he said.
"And because farmers will be paid according to quality, burnt cane would significantly reduce their earnings."
Mr Khan said the onus was on growers to ensure their fields were monitored and to ensure cane field fires were reduced.
"It doesn't do anybody any good.
"In fact, at the end of the day, the industry as a whole is affected because of an increase in impurities that could affect the sale of our sugar to international buyers."
Police also warned that anyone caught igniting cane fields would face the full brunt of the law.
Cane fires cost the industry $22million last year and $11m so far this year.