Sugar shipment: 35,000 tonnes for export

The first 35,000 tonnes of locally-produced sugar is expected to leave our shores by end of this month or early September, says the FSC.

THE first 35,000 tonnes of locally produced sugar is expected to leave our shores by end of this month or early September.

Fiji Sugar Corporation chief operations officer Navin Chandra said there had been a delay in the shipment schedules.

“We were supposed to have our first shipment on August 15, but that has been delayed towards the end of this month or early next month,” Mr Chandra said.

“We will also have three shipments consecutively with the first shipment to load from Malau wharf.

“We will load 26,000 tonnes of sugar from Labasa mill in the first shipment and the rest will be loaded from Lautoka. That’s how we’ve been doing it.”

Mr Chandra could not comment on the value of this first shipment.

“We are in the business of making sugar and our TC:TS (tonnes per cane to tonnes per sugar) has been very good for Labasa mill,” he said.

“Labasa has 24 mechanical harvesters and there has been an increase this year with the number of rail gangs (cutters who load for rails) compared to lorry gangs (cutters who load for trucks) so there is big combination of quota distribution we have to manage.

“We are also careful not to mechanically harvest cane on flat land first all at once and towards the end of the year when it’s rainy season then we have lots of cane in hilly areas left to harvest.

“This will be difficult as trucks may not access the hill area in rainy season so we balance things and ensure that quotas are given to harvest both flat and hilly areas during this dry weather.”

An initiative also taken by the growers, he said was the creation of smaller gangs.

“In the past we used to have large gangs of 30 members and they would get one or two quotas but now we have created three smaller gangs within that 30 so they are all demanding quotas,” Mr Chandra said.

The Labasa mill has produced 28,000 tonnes of sugar and crushed 255,000 tonnes of cane so far this season.

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