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Drop in canefarmers

Luke Rawalai
Friday, April 04, 2014

THE Fiji sugar industry lost 258 sugarcane growers from 2011 to 2013, says Sugar Ministry director Viliame Gucake.

Speaking to the Committee for Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL) in Labasa this week, Mr Gucake said they recorded a total of 16,206 canegrowers in 2011.

Mr Gucake said the number decreased to 15,948 within two years.

"There has been an increase in the total number of hectares under cane around the country which now stands at 42,795 hectares compared with 41,000 hectares in the last two years," he said.

"Our mills managed to produce 166,669 tonnes of sugar in 2011, 154,813 tonnes in 2012 and 179,869 tonnes last year."

Mr Gucake said sugar production increased slightly in the past two years ranging from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 1.6 million tonnes last year.

"The country's four mills fall short of 53,000 tonnes of sugar every year from its quota to the EU.

"Sugar production is still an issue with the industry and we are mapping out strategies to solve this issue."

He added Fiji had a sugar quota of 220,000 tonnes to the European Union which it failed to produce annually.

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