An assessment of the damage to the sugar cane industry following Tropical Cyclone Evan has found that there has been significant damage to grown up cane planted early in the season and ratoon cane harvested in the first round of this season's harvest.
Ina statement, the Ministry of Information says an emergency meeting this week in Lautoka chaired by the sugar ministry was attended by the Fiji Sugar Corporation, Sugar Cane Growers Council, Sugar Industry Tribunal, Sugar Research Institute of Fiji, Sugar Cane Growers Fund and South Pacific Fertilisers.
Several cane growers have lost their homes and belongings, many other homes were damaged and other buildings lost their roofs.
The sugar mills remained intact and no major damages have been reported.
In an effort to provide relief to growers it has been agreed to bring forward the second cane payment due for Lautoka and Rarawai mill growers.
The Labasa and Penang mill growers have already received their second cane payment as both the mills terminated crush much earlier than the latter two mills.
It has also been agreed to make a special payment of four Fiji dollars per ton to all cane growers that supplied cane to the mills this season before the start of the new school term to enable parents to prepare their children's educational requirements.
The ministry says efforts will also be made to waive deductions from that payment and the dates for both payments will be announced shortly.