- Fiji News
- Fiji Sports
By LOSIRENE CHAND
Commissioner Northern Lieutenant-Colonel Ilai Moceica is very optimistic about the crushing season of the sugarcane industry in Labasa this year.
He made these comments as cane crushing commenced at the Labasa Sugar Mill yesterday.
Lieutenant-Colonel Moceica said last year the efficiency of the mill operation in Labasa had dampened his spirit when he took up his current position.
“However, this year we are very confident. We are being given update about the mill and its operation at all times,” he said.
Meanwhile, around 500,000 tonnes of sugarcane is expected to be crushed this season.
Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) executive chairman, Abdul Khan, said: “520,000 tonnes of sugarcane will bring in 47,000 to 52,000 tonnes of sugar this year,” he said.
Mr Khan stressed that maximum extraction for Vanua Levu would bring in maximum revenue.
And with the Labasa mill up and running after all the necessary maintenance works, he is confident of a successful crushing season.
“There has been a lot of talk about the mill, whether it will operate or not,” he said.
“It is assured that this year all that has been needed to be done in the mill has been done.”
Mr Khan said for the past 18 months since he joined FSC, the changes in Labasa’s sugar sector was indeed a great achievement.
He described this to be a proud moment for the sugar industry.
Mr Khan said the FSC staff had all worked hard to get the mill running.
Lieutenant-Colonel Moceica said farmers were being urged to continue with cane farming as the sugar price was increasing.
“As the price of sugar will increase, everything else will increase.”
He said at $12 per labour for a tonne of sugarcane and the labour cost alone would be $6 million urging labourers to take advantage of this.
“Farmer should be planting a variety of cane that will give more yields and quality cane,” he said.
Mr Khan said plans were in the pipeline to provide sheds and amenities for the cane lorry drivers who arrive at the mill and wait for their sugarcane to be crushed.
“The sheds and amenities should be able to accommodate for the lorry drivers who have to stay longer and wait,” he said.
Mr Khan said sketches have already been made and were waiting for approval and funds for the project.