Cane farmers to receive four cane payments

Nawaicoba and Malamala Cane Farmers Cooperative treasurer Saiyad Khalid Shah (second from left) with fellow cooperative members in Malamala, Nadi. Picture: FILE/SUPPLIED

Cane farmers will now receive four cane payments instead of five, says Sugar Minister Charan Jeath Singh.

He said the new payment arrangement was arrived at after discussions between the Sugar Cane Growers Council and Fiji Sugar Corporation.

“We have agreed in the last couple of weeks that instead of five payments, there will be four payments,” he said.

“And the payment that was done in October, that will move forward to May. So, there will be only four payments.”

Mr Singh said the October payment was moved to May because that was when farmers needed money the most to begin preparations for harvesting.

“So that has been agreed by the Growers Council and FSC. And that will be announced and that should be formalised before the next crushing season.”

While the announcement has been made, it would require an amendment to the Sugar Master Award and there has been no word of when that would happen.

Under the present arrangement, cane payments are spread out over 18 months.

Under the Master Award the FSC announces a forecast price which usually discounts the actual price by 15 per cent.

The first payment is 60 per cent of the forecast price and is paid out three weeks after harvest with harvesting/transport/fertiliser/debts to FSC expenses deducted from the payment.

The second payment is 20 per cent of the forecast price and is paid five weeks after closure of the mill and the payment is made with deduction for fertiliser/weedicide, native land rent/SCGF loans.

The third payment is done at the end of March.

This is based on sugar sales to the end of February.

The fourth payment is based on whatever sugar proceeds to April is paid in May.

The fifth payment is made in October and is usually made up of the remaining proceeds from sugar sales.

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