24 Mar 2004

Fiji Sugar Corporation to allow farmers to use railway system

10:45 am on 24 March 2004

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has backed down on a decision by one of its millers not to allow farmers to use its railway system to transport cane.

The cane growers council had threatened a possible boycott of this year's harvest if that stance was maintained.

But the council's chief executive, Jaganath Sami, says the FSC has subsequently said farmers can use the railway.

He says this is not the end of the matter, however, because the FSC has also informed him that due to financial constraints, it wouldn't be able to maintain the tracks.

"We are not happy with that condition. We'll definitely be pursuing that matter with the Sugar Industry Tribunal. Non-maintenance of the railway system is still a breach of the provisions of the master award."

Mr Sami says the council is also pursuing its claim for 2.4 million US dollars from the FSC over loss of sugar caused by milling efficiencies.

The FSC chief executive and chairman of the board were unavailable for comment.