Crushing nears end

Truck driver Nand Kumar unloads the sugar cane at the lautoka Mill yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Truck driver Nand Kumar unloads the sugar cane at the Lautoka Mill earlier this month. Picture: REINAL CHAND

AFTER the announcement of tentative dates for the end of crushing season, the Fiji Sugar Corporation and Sugar Cane Growers Council are working with farmers to provide swift solution before the season ends.

FSC chief executive officer Graham Clark said the two organisations were working with farmers to identify problems as it arose.

“Opportunities to improve this crushing plan include working with farmers to try to secure Sunday harvesting and cane deliveries,” he said.

“This would add another five days available crushing time, equivalent to 55,000 tonnes crushed. In addition, if cane supply is accelerated, the mills can crush more than the target of 11,000 tonnes per day.

“This has been achieved in the past week and could further reduce crushing time.”

Mr Clark said they had also prioritised rail transport with ongoing repairs to locos and rail trucks.

“Turnaround of rail trucks is another focus area to improve rail availability,” he said.

“FSC has also agreed to the selective conversion from rail to lorry haulage in designated areas to assist in accessing cane distant from the mills.

“In the last month, mill performance has been hampered by cane supply after the recent rains. Some stop-start conditions have had to be managed carefully, but the instruction is to try to not stop crushing and use rail to link up with lorry deliveries.”

Although provisional end of crush had been announced by the tribunal as December 13, 2018, Mr Clark said they were required to make another announcement before this tentative date.

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