FSC says no standover cane payout

FSC CEO Graham Clark (left) with Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Ashneel Sudhakar, and Fiji Sugar Corporation's chief operating officer Navin Chandra at the National Sugar Policy consultation at Sugar Cane Growers Council hall in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THERE is no scheme in place yet to compensate farmers for any standover cane from the last crushing season.

“At the moment for 2018 there is no scheme for any compensation,” Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) chief operating officer Navin Chandra said in response to a query by a Ba farmer during a National Sugar Industry Policy consultation on Tuesday.

“What we will be looking at is the performance of the gangs from the beginning because this rush to get the cane last minute is also a concern.”

He said 2018 was a big problem because of the Rarawai mill.

“We know we’re going to fix the mill, we know Lautoka mill is performing well, and we are also investing in the Labasa mill. For us, standover cane is a cost because we need to make sugar to sell, FSC needs that money as well.

“This year when we send out the Memorandum of Gang Agreements (MOGA) and everything, we’ll also be monitoring which gangs start early and also why the gangs now are harvesting in November and December.

“There are a lot of growers who wait for the same labourers who can also come and cut cane. We know in November and December it’s going to rain and it becomes hard.”

Mr Chandra said if Rarawai mill had performed well last year, all cane crushing would have been completed by October.

“We don’t want standover cane. Compensation won’t solve the problem. We need to look at the root cause and fix it.”

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