Copra industry reduces financial loss

Copra Millers Fiji Ltd board chairman Raj Sharma, left, with board directors and workers at the mill in Savusavu. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

COST-cutting measures, government subsidies and increasing sales reduced financial loss in the copra industry which incurred a $458,000 loss in 2016 after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Board chairman of Copra Millers Fiji Ltd Raj Sharma said Severe TC Winston had a drastic impact on stakeholders, especially the farmers.

“In 2016, we made a loss of $458,000, but by 2017 we reduced that and ended up with a loss of $162,000,” he said.

“That’s a big improvement considering that all the copra farms in our areas of supply were not spared by Severe TC Winston and farmers including us had to start all over again.

“So in 2018, we have made progress as Government stepped in with subsidies, we had our own cost-cutting measures, driving efficiencies and all these helped us recover.”

For 2018, Mr Sharma was adamant of achieving a profit of $170,000.

However, this is yet to be confirmed but his assumption has been based on products manufactured by the company in Savusavu.

“We also reduced the expenses to $2.3 million in 2018 from $2.5m in 2016 so we are doing very well, the farmers play a vital role in this and we are heading to better days,” Mr Sharma said.

“Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston had a major impact on the industry and the interest from farmers was also affected.

“We lost out a lot of copra, especially on outer islands, and supply was low after the cyclone.

“But through Government’s subsidies and other incentives, we have picked up again and are on recovery mode.”

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