3 Aug 2010

Fiji sugar mill problems costing farmers substantially

1:54 pm on 3 August 2010

Cane farmers in the Ba area of Fiji are frustrated with breakdowns at the Rarawai mill, which they say are costing them substantial amounts of money.

The mill has had mechanical problems, meaning its capacity is down about 50 percent.

The National Farmers Union's Ba representative, Gaffar Ahmed, says farmers have been told repair work is continuing, and hopefully in a week, the mill will be up to 80 percent of its expected target.

"There was [an] assurance given by the sugar mill before the start of the crushing that everything is OK with the mill. But when the actual crushing took place the mill started to experience some teething problems. But the teething problems continued for the last two months."

Gaffar Ahmed says farmers are now bearing the cost of employing cutting gangs while they wait to see if the mill will be able to take their cane.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation was unavailable to comment.