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Growers' plea

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, November 03, 2017

THE Sugar Cane Growers Council has made a formal request to the Sugar Industry Tribunal for an extension of the cane planting season.

The planting season officially came to an end on October 31.

SCGC chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty said the extreme dry weather warranted the extension.

Mr Chetty said according to the Sugar Master Award, the official planting season ended on Tuesday but they had made a request for the tribunal to extend the planting season to one more month so that cane planted this season would be accepted next year.

Mr Chetty said many growers had held back from planting because of concerns about the dry weather exacerbated by lack of access to water.

He said the prolonged dry weather spell had taken its toll on this season's crop and could have some impact next year if rain did not fall soon. "We are expecting this year's crop to be below 1.7 million tonnes and we are also unsure of the coming season.

"And the reason we cannot put a figure for 2018 yet is because of the weather and other factors that are affected by it."

Extreme dry weather has resulted in a downward revision by the Fiji Sugar Corporation of the 2017 crop from 2.1 million tonnes to 1.8m.

Canegrowers' representative organisations, however, have forecast a total harvest of about 1.7m tonnes.

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