16 April, 2017, 12:00 am
I suggest that the Government and Fiji sugar stakeholders consider setting up a cane-billeting station at a point between Tavua and Rakiraki which is accessible by road/rail. I propose that the plant be located at either Nanuku or Yaqara and that the cane be carted by lorry only.
All cane from the Rakiraki area is to be delivered to this location and billeted then transported to Rarawai mill at FSC’s cost thus relieving the farmers of the extra cost of transportation that they would have incurred if they would have had to transport their cane to Rarawai mill themselves.
The billeting plant may comprise a receival station inclusive of a weigh bridge and whole cane storage yard, two mobile/tractorised feeders, a cane carrier/feeder to a stationary billeter, a discharge conveyor and a lorry/rail loading station.
All of the drives would be electrically operated — the cost could be compensated by FSC generating excess electricity at their other factories and selling it to FEA.
The onus would then be on FSC to ensure that the Rarawai mill is well maintained in order to operate successfully during the crushing season.
The Rarawai mill has ample capacity to crush the Ba crop plus the Rakiraki crop.
My suggestion would be a win-win situation for the stakeholders of the sugar industry, especially in the Rakiraki district.