Fiji's National Farmers Union says the amount of sugar cane crushed this season will be the lowest on record.
The general secretary, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the latest estimate from the Fiji Sugar Corporation of one point six million tons is likely to fall short by 50-thousand tons when the Lautoka and Rarawai mills close later this month.
Annell Husband reports:
"Mr Chaudhry says cane crushed is down from from three point three million tons in 2006 and sugar down from 330-thousand to an estimated 150-thousand tons this season. He says since the military takeover almost six years ago, the production of both crushed cane and sugar has been cut in half. Mr Chaudhry says the number of sugar cane growers has also halved over the past 20 years, from about 23-thousand to 12-thousand."
However the Sugar Corporation's executive chairperson Abdul Khan says the latest forecast for this season's sugar production is between 160 and 165-thousand tons and he doesn't believe that that many farmers have left the industry.