LOW CANE SUPPLY AT LAUTOKA
Mill reduces cane crushing capacity
Lack of labourers resulting in a shortage of cane supply is causing the Lautoka Sugar Mill to crush at half capacity. What would normally be around 30,000 tonnes of cane being crushed in a week is presently reduced to between 15,000 to 16,000 tonnes. Lautoka Mill general manager, Viliame Savou, said the feedback from farmers has been the shortage of labourers to harvest the cane.
To date, the mill has crushed over 45,000 tonnes of sugarcane, producing just over 5000 tonnes of sugar.
Mr Savou said it was difficult at present to give a figure on the tonne of cane per tonne of sugar (TCTS) because the supply of cane.
The recent rain did not help matters at the mill as it had to shut down from August 7 to August 12 because of no cane supply. Crushing began again on Friday morning and Mr Savou hoped cane supply would now pick up.
“Right now only 68 percent of harvesting gangs are engaged in harvesting and other farmers were finding it difficult to find workers,” he said.
Mr Savou attributed this to a lot of labourers opting to be engaged in rehabilitation work following Cyclone Winston. During Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s sugar consultation tour the past month, farmers also highlighted the high pay demands from labourers.
Cane trucks line up to offload sugar cane at the Lautoka Mill on Saturday. The Mill is running at half capacity due t cane supply shortage.