Association nets $357,000 profit

THE Lautoka Cane Producers Association has heaped praise on the Government’s regulated cost of hiring mechanical harvesters after the growers body recorded a profit of $357,000 last season.

“Last year we bought two mechanical harvesters and made a profit of $357,000 out of which $200,000 was used to make loan repayments on both machines,” said association president Parbindar Singh.

“We will be using the remaining $150,000 to purchase gumboots, knives, gloves and files for our 5300 members which will be handed out at the April 5 annual general meeting in Lautoka.”

Mr Singh said contrary to comments made by other growers organisations, the $17.50 per tonne regulated hire rate was a fair price for farmers and machine owners.

“Our record shows that it is possible to make a good profit from the regulated hire rate.

“And the only way you make the rate work is if you harvest at least 14,000 tonnes of cane per machine.

“Attorney-General and Minister for Economy announced the regulated hire rate of the mechanical harvester of $17.50 per tonne during the 2017-2018 National Budget address in June last year.

He said after extensive consultations and allowing for profit of 19 per cent for harvesters, the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission had determined that no harvester should charge a rate of more than $17.50 per tonne.

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