LOW CANE SUP­PLY AT LAUTOKA

Mill re­duces cane crush­ing ca­pac­ity

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - CHARLES CHAM­BERS EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL

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.

Photo: CHARLES CHAM­BERS

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.

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