WHILE measures to curb the indiscriminate burning of sugar cane will be high on the agenda during post-crush discussions by industry stakeholders, harvesting and transportation will also be discussed at length when sugar mills grind to a halt later this month.
These, Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said were issues of concern because of their impact on sugar production at mills in the country.
"We do allow programmed burning but this is only for specified areas and for a limited time," he said.
"But what we have seen is quite a huge amount of burnt cane coming to our mills.
"If burnt cane arrives at the mills within 48 hours, it is just as good as green cane, however, there is no guarantee that this can happen all the time."
Lt-Col Vaniqi said the issue required intense consultations with growers to help them understand the effects of burnt cane in terms of sugar quality and cost if not processed within the 48-hour window.
FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said apart from burnt cane, the biggest issue the miller faced this season was supply.
"For this reason, we are seriously looking at taking over the lorry transport and also investing in harvesters that can operate on slopes and hilly ground," Mr Khan said.
He said by controlling the harvest and transport of cane, the FSC could ensure that supply to its mills was consistent and in-line with the improved performance of mills as was witnessed this season.