One sugar mill plan

Fiji Sugar Corporation staff members wear masks while working at FSC Lautoka sugar mill. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

The Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) states because of the estimated crop size in the future, it will require only one mill on Viti Levu.

In a submission to the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) where it sought to increase domestic sugar prices by 100 per cent, the FSC stated existing mills were not giving “bang for the buck”.

FSC CEO Bhan Pratap Singh said the proposed increase in sugar price would rake in funds for the miller’s future projects.

“The urgent need for FSC is to construct a highly efficient sugar mill that will bring about required productivity levels based on crop volume,” he said in the submission.

“With the estimated crop size in future, FSC requires only one sugar mill in Viti Levu with high crushing capacity, productive systems and less labour-intensive operations.

“The new sugar mill will bring the required productivity and efficiencies to steer the sugar industry to become self-sustainable.”

He said this was a long-term project and FSC needed to start capital investment planning now.

“Since the investment is significant, FSC would require sound financial position to increase its borrowing capability from financial institutes for the new sugar mill project.

“The current technology used is archaic and does not allow FSC to get its ‘bang for the buck’, simply put, the current mills which are old with aged infrastructure are using over a 100-year-old technology and has been neglected for upgrades.

“Upgrades are needed to improve throughput thus increasing output and reducing per unit cost, (this means reducing per unit costs over the long term).”

The FCCC stated it was asking for public submissions before making a determination.

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