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Cane burning

Kalesi Mele
Saturday, November 25, 2017

BURNING cane has become one of the main problems identified in the sugar industry.

This was the statement made by Western Division principal agriculture officer Ilikimi Kaiyanuyanu during the National Forest Fire Management workshop that concluded on Thursday at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa.

He said the practice was increasing rapidly, with the proportion of burnt cane delivered to the mills now standing at 62 per cent.

"The sugar industry is not reaching its full potential because of burning," he said.

Mr Kaiyanuyanu said most of the burning had been classified as deliberate and its effects detrimental on the whole industry.

"The effects of burning are widespread and affect processing, harvesting, growing and the environment," he said.

Similar sentiments were shared by Sugar Cane Growers Council general manager operations Sunil Chaudhary.

He said most of cane burning cases were reported as arson and it was difficult to determine the culprit.

"Sometimes neighbouring canefarmers are jealous and start the fire or they do it because they want to jump the queue at the mill," he said. "Sometimes it's the canecutters because they no longer want to cut cane. Sometimes the farmers themselves do it because it's easier to harvest.

"The fires definitely have detrimental effects on the environment and the industry and there needs to be awareness to be able to reduce the incidence of cane fires."

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