Fiji Cane Farmers Face Mill Woes

Rakiraki businessman and former politician George Shiu Raj expressed concerns over the frustration among farmers due to the frequent breakdowns of the Lautoka Sugar Mill. He emphasized that the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) should ensure that the cane supplied to the mills is crushed during the crushing season.

“The government has allocated millions of dollars for the repair and maintenance of the Lautoka sugarcane mill,” Shiu Raj stated. He also highlighted that the Rarawai Mill in Ba is not functioning properly, leading to situations where lorry drivers wait for up to 36 hours outside the mill.

“This is a major issue. Farmers will not supply sugarcane to the mill unless it is fixed. Today, farmers are being treated unfairly, and when we send trucks to the mill, we are informed of yet another breakdown. This is unacceptable. The government has done its part, but the problem now lies with the mills.”

On the other hand, FSC Chief Executive Officer Bhan Pratap Singh acknowledged the initial issues experienced at the Lautoka mill during the start of the crushing season. “The mill is now operational,” Singh confirmed. “We have addressed the concerns, and the mill is operating at the required capacity. We are committed to addressing issues raised by farmers and ensuring the smooth operation of the mill for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

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