DROUGHT IN WESTERN FIJI SERIOUSLY AFFECTS CANE CROP

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SUVA, Fiji (April 19, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The drought gripping Fiji's Western Division, especially the Ba and Tavua districts, has taken a drastic toll on the 1998 sugarcane crop, Island Network Corporation reports.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation's Rarawai Mill Manager, Joe Osborne, told Island Network News that all sectors of the two districts reported that cane has deteriorated to a "state of no return."

Osborne says this means that no matter what happens farmers will not be able to harvest the current crop. The total tonnage for this season, he forecasts, is likely to be reduced by half compared to last year.

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