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Crushing At Labasa Sugar Mill Slow: Vimal Dutt

The Sugar Cane Growers Council (SCGC) is encouraging growers to commence cane harvesting especially in Labasa. Council chief executive officer Vimal Dutt confirmed that even though crushing in Labasa has commenced it was slow. “Also growers in Viti Levu need to start preparing for the season in advance.” “Whilst the weather is very prevailing, we are in the start of the harvesting season, growers are advised to take every opportunity to harvest and deliver their cane to the mill.” “The close related parties of cane harvesting programme are cutters, truck and tractor operators so forth are the key dependents of this cane business,” said Mr Dutt.

Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Mr. Vimal Dutt.

No sabotage “Let’s not sabotage their living.” “The current situation has room for improvement if all the related parties work in synergy. “The harvesting and cartage rates is one area that could be reviewed creating a win-win situation. “A slight decline in cane forecast price does not necessarily mean that cane harvesting couldn’t eventuate, instead the vested parties needs to come into dialogue and resolve a way forward, creating a win – win environment for everyone for the betterment of this industry.” “It also creates a greater opportunity for support service providers to reinforce the relationship in a healthy compromising direction where possible. Most of the service providers are cane growers as well.” To ease the situation, Mr Dutt says the stakeholders have collectively agreed to allow gangs to claim last year’s [2020] rate to ensure all growers are able to meet the harvesting costs. “We appreciate the passion of growers who have already started harvesting and message is very clear to other farmers.” “The crops are your efforts and it needs to harvested on maturity and delivered to mill on time, ensuring your commitments such as fertilizer debts and loan repayments are met on time.” “The gangs who are behind in their meetings are requested to co-ordinate with Fiji Sugar Corporation and SCGC Field personnel’s and submit their memorandum of gang agreement (MOGA).” “Government has provided huge benefits to cane growers from the past years resulting a reduction in growers cost of production thus widening the income margin of a grower.” Mr Dutt said he remained positive the government assistance towards the sugar industry would continue. Sugar Cane Growers Fund chief executive officer Raj Sharma has also appealed to the cane growers to harvest the cane. “There are people without food, there are more than 100,000 people without a job.” “Growers have their own crop which they have to harvest.” “They will get some money out of it, the lorry drivers would also earn and so would the cane cutters.” “It is a humble plea; please harvest,” Mr Sharma said. The Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will have a virtual budget consultation with the sugarcane farmers and the Sugar Cane Growers Council today.

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