Thursday 13th August 2020
The National Federation Party says the 2020 sugarcane crushing season will go down as one of the worst in more than a decade even if the current sugar extraction ratio from harvested cane is maintained by the three Fiji Sugar Corporation mills.
This is after the Fiji Sugar Corporation, in its latest weekly update revealed that the total crush so far this season until 10th August is 544,524 tonnes and sugar production is 46,189 tonnes with a TCTS of 11.8. TCTS is tonnes of cane required to make one tonne of sugar.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says the current TCTS of 11.8 will result in a lower sugar production than the 2019 season from the crop forecast pf 1.84 million tonnes.
“In 2019, the three mills crushed a little over 1.806 million tonnes of cane and produced 168,702 tonnes of sugar at a TCTS of 10.7, which itself was above the undesirable average tonnage of 10 tonnes”.
“In 2020, even if the current TCTS of 11.8 is maintained, which is highly unlikely, sugar production is expected to be 155.932 tonnes from the forecasted 1.84 million tonnes of cane”.
“This means that the average TCTS of 11.8 is higher than that 9.9 that FSC was urged to meet by the Permanent Secretary for Sugar”.
“Lower sugar extraction due to inefficiencies on the part of FSC means losses for cane growers because it would mean lower annual returns from sale of sugar to the export markets”.
“And since growers’ average income is 70% proceeds from the sale of sugar, any loss incurred by FSC through its failure to maximise sugar extraction through efficient milling process also means 70% of losses are incurred by growers”.
“We are greatly concerned because if FSC has abysmally failed to maintain efficiency from the start of crush in June through to August, which is considered the optimum period for maximum sugar extraction due to cool and fine weather”.
“Therefore, we foresee the TCTS ratio to increase to beyond 12 as the season progresses late into the year with the rainy season setting in”.
“This is yet another painful reminder of the state of decay of the technically insolvent FSC”.
Professor Biman Prasad