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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 5, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Fiji sugar growers have been criticized for a dramatic fall in the quality of sugar supplied to mills this season.

The Managing Director of the Fiji Sugar Corporation, Jonetani Galuinadi, said farmers began burning sugar cane at the end of the season, and it now takes nearly twice as much cane to produce a ton of sugar as it did early in the season.

Many farmers have ignored pleas to stop burning the cane, he said, which will affect the quality of sugar and export prices.

"It doesn't worry them too much, because they're paid on the weight of the cane," he said.

"Unfortunately people don't realize that (the price paid) actually depends on the sugar that is extracted from that cane.

"The overall effect to the growers is that the revenue that will be earned will be less than if we were producing better quality sugar."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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