29 Mar 2017

Fiji sugar mill closure will have 'devastating impact'

4:25 pm on 29 March 2017

Fiji's National Farmers Union says the decision to close the Penang Mill will have a devastating impact on the Ra economy.

The damaged sugar mill at Rakiraki.

The Penang Sugar Mill. Photo: RNZ / Juliette Sivertsen

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has decided to close the Penang Sugar Mill in Rakiraki, but says it is confident the closure won't hurt the local economy.

The mill was damaged by Cyclone Winston last year and sugar cane growers have called it to be restored.

NFU general secretary and former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry said, in a Facebook post, that the mill's recent performance showed there was no justification for its closure.

Mr Chaudhry said the mill was generating about $US70,000 a week for circulation in the Ra economy.

He also says while the FSC claims that refurbishing the mill would cost about $US20 million, a retired Penang engineer told parliament it could be could be repaired for about US$1.5 million.

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