14 Aug 2006

Fiji cane farmers threaten boycott

1:57 pm on 14 August 2006

Sugar cane farmers' organisations in Fiji have threatened a harvest boycott if farmers are not compensated for more than 8,000 tonnes of cane which has been left uncrushed.

This is because the Fiji Sugar Corporation's Lautoka and Ba sugar mills broke down on Tuesday of last week and have not resumed crushing.

The uncrushed cane was burnt before harvesting, meaning that it would deteriorate rapidly unless processed within a few days.

The Fiji Sun quotes the chief executive of the Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council, Jaganath Sami, as saying they would have no choice but to take industrial action unless farmers are compensated in line with past practice.

The general secretary of the National Farmers Union, Mahendra Chaudhry, has warned of drastic action if the corporation does not compensate farmers because the mill break downs are not their fault.

The Lautoka and Ba sugar mills are the two biggest in the country, with each able to crush more than 1.2 million tones of cane every harvesting season.