24 Jun 2003

Slow start to Fiji sugar cane harvest

12:19 pm on 24 June 2003

Fiji's sugar cane harvest has got off to a slow start with only one of four mills in the country crushing.

Only the Ba mill has crushed 24-thousand tonnes of cane since it started last week.

The Penang Mill has been mostly shut down because of insufficient cane supply.

The Lautoka Mill has remained closed because of a leaking boiler but may start today if sufficient harvested cane is supplied.

The Labasa Sugar mill is not due to start crushing till next month because of a much smaller than usual crop.

This year's total can crop is estimated at 3-point-4 million tonnes and the Sugar Cane Growers Council is warning that unless full-scale harvesting gets under way quickly, both farmers and the Sugar Corporation face losses.