3 Apr 2017

Fiji Sugar Corporation accused of 'cannibalising' Penang mill

8:29 am on 3 April 2017

The Fiji Farmers Union is accusing the Fiji Sugar Corporation of cannibalising a mill in Rakiraki in order to force its shutdown.

The damaged sugar mill at Rakiraki.

The damaged sugar mill at Rakiraki. Photo: RNZ / Juliette Sivertsen

The corporation last week announced that the Penang Mill, which was badly damaged by Cyclone Winston last year, will close as it would be too expensive to refurbish.

That came to the dismay of Rakiraki businesses and cane farmers, who say the closure will devastate the town and wider Ra district.

The chair of the Fiji Farmer's Union, Mahendra Chaudhry, said the closure was unnecessary and deliberate.

"Had they not cannibalised the mill after the cyclone, the mill could have been repaired for around FJ$5 million. [But] immediately after the cyclone they started cannibalising the mill, removing machinery and equipment to other mills. Now they're telling us that to rebuild the mill will cost FJ$50-55 million. Now that, of course, was all deliberately done."

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