Sugar coating the message?

The price of sugar on the world market is going to plunge by 30% this year due to over-supply. And what is FSC’s answer to this challenge? Abdul Khan says FSC has “mitigated the decline in sugar price by employing revenue risk management strategies”. WTF??? Apparently this means “Rather than relying on raw sugar, we are also improving revenue from other areas like looking at the sale of refined sugar, converting molasses to ethanol and cogeneration”. So who is going to build a sugar refinery, an ethanol plant and co-generation capacity? FSC is bankrupt. No-one is going to invest in sugar in Fiji without guarantees there are farmers there who can supply cane. Abdul Khan should try telling the truth for once. He tries to sugar coat the message but instead serves it wrapped in BS, thinking that makes it easier to swallow.

Fiji Times October 07, 2014: FSC mitigates decline

20 Responses to “Sugar coating the message?”

  1. The Sugarman Says:

    The sugar industry is doomed! When we have master liars like Abdul Khan as the CEO, failure all over will result. I repeat, the sugar industry is doomed!

  2. saunivalu Says:

    That’s why Fiji has got Asian Countries right by her side… Fiji is doomed,

  3. Tomasi Says:

    While it is true that FSC is very sick and needs serious and extreme makeover of the industrial kind, I think we can still rescue it if we begin asap. That extreme makeover must include radical steps that include the following:

    1. A thorough investigation and analysis of the whole company and industry. Previous studies and findings to be part of the information menu.
    2. A mix of local and international people to constitute the panel or commission. Give them a suitable terms of Reference that allows them to do whatever is necessary to restore life and muscle to the old creature.
    3. Retire the CEO, Abdul Khan and release the Sugar Industry from the oversight of Voreqe.
    4. Let the Commission make the necessary recommendations on what to do to transform FSC into a more vibrant, smart and profitable organisation.
    5. One of the options would be to let the public buy shares in the company. Of course it would need fresh “cash-blood” to resuscitate it to life again.
    6. There are several types of inspirational stories. Ravi Narayan’s story is about starting off in adversity and defying the odds to excel and achieve success. For the FSC and our sugar industry, it can be a story of reviving a wounded creature that has given thousands of families and our nation hope, meaning and life for many years.

    As we have all heard being said and chanted,”Yes we can. Yes, with innovation, determination and hard work, yes, we can revive the FSC creature and give it new life, new goals, new direction and new hopes for farmers and families that depend on it for their well being.

  4. LOSALINI Says:

    in the meantime, the chinese are patiently waiting in the background for FSC to fail. isa, ko viti.

  5. Mukesh Says:

    Fact about sugar industry
    1. Too much politically interference
    2. Public listing company delisted by illegal government – thereby no accountability
    3. Industry is structured by complex legislation; sugar industry act, master award, etc
    4. According to master award – net proceed (sales less expenditure)from the industry is shared between cane growers (70%) and FSC (30%).
    5. Growers are represented by Sugar Cane Growers Council; which uptil now do not have insight knowledge of the industry and milling and industry performance. The SCGC is heavily relying on figures from FSC although they have 70% stake in the industry.
    6. The SCGC is also very politicised as a result the position of CEO (which has 6 figure salary and other hefty perks) of SCGC is very volatile and no one stays in the position on long term.
    7. The fertilizer company which is part of the industry is defunct itself; it is still maintaining the price of fertilizer at record level when actually the price has fallen significantly
    8. With regards to the internal structure of FSC, this is somewhat very structured, but the level of corruption is rife.
    9. Senior officers of FSC earns more money through corrupt practice than their salary.
    10. Due to corrupt practice by senior officers and over run of the insurance damage cost; the insurance premium is beyond FSC’s capability.
    11. Cane growers were taken for ride for over hundred years, and thanks for NLTB, the massive take back of cane land many cane growers are now living a better life – in terms of money in pocket.
    12. Bainimarama government has tried but failed to attract former cane growers to restart farming
    13. Now what ever is left Bainimarama government has scraped growers representative and taken full control of the industry
    14. Only God knows true status of the industry, and farmers are not getting true value for the cane they supply due to transperancy.
    15. Most of the pillars of the industry has fallen apart and it is up to time when the remaining will fall, no amount of cash injection will back Sugar Industry in Fiji to Glory Days

    It is for the readers to decide the future – but I think the industry has ran its race – and now Bainimarama in flogging the already dead horse…….

  6. Tomasi Says:

    Thank you Mukesh for the valuable information. As people who were to some degree involved with the industry, the facts you listed are known and they have existed for some time. All those facts constitute a culture, a way of doing things for certain ends. You will agree that they were man made and must change if we were to radically transform the creature and give it new life.

    In the final analysis, it is the people chosen to do the seemingly impossible task. The people to thoroughly investigate the situation and recommend what must be done. The people who will lead the FSC back into viability and greater profitability. The people and committees who will work together to provide advice and support as and when needed. The people who will be employed by the Company. The LEADER/s to lead, guide and see the process through to success.

    As I see it, the fundamentals are still very much there. Except for the Sugar Preferential Prices, the following remain:

    1. Land is still available. Landowners and NLTB are willing and able.
    2. Infrasructure is intact with some maintenance needed.
    3. Farmers and workers abundant. Old and new people will return with the right incentives in place for them and their families.
    4. Knowledge and experience and technical expertise available over many years of being in the business.
    5. Global population (consumption demand) shows healthy growth trends. All we need to to be smarter and produce for the markets and create new markets/products especially for the east Asia and the Pacific.

    So all in all, Can Do. Where there is a will, there is a way. Vinaka

  7. Mukesh Says:

    Very basic fact must not be ignored. Indian origin cane farmers who have been forced out or left voluntarily will not return to sugar cane farming. Three reasons:-
    1. many farmers have reached retirement age
    2. most farmers kids are now employed in towns and cities, and some migrated, thereby cash money in pocket each week rather than few times in a year
    3. Planting and cultivating cane is no problem, but harvesting massive problem

    The quality of lives for those displaced farmers has also improved and problem of harvesting has escalated.

    The raw sugar price has fallen from 35 cents per pound to 13 cents per pound. If some chose to return than they will run away very quickly. Growers will not see $85 per tonne of cane anymore.

    If government still insist of cane farming than they should involve native Fijians from inter island or interior

    Finally, it would be prudent to start thinking about alternative agriculture or else……….

    • saunivalu Says:

      Mukesh, for your information, all those cane cutters are now employed by Bainimarama and Khai as “SOLDIERS” for their own personal security.

  8. Tomasi Says:

    Yes Mukesh. Those are the realities that exist but moving forward demands that we think outside the box and see possibilities beyond current realities. If we look at the difficulties only and shrug our shoulders and say, “It is impossible, it cannot be done!”, then we are admitting defeat and we will never get out of this situation. There are thousands of people directly employed in the industry, while thousands more benefit from the secondary and tertiary waves. Unemployment in Fiji is very high and many young people are jobless. The industry has proven its great value before. If we are smart and innovative enough, we can revive it and give it a new lease of life. But changes will have to be made. All those questions and issues will have to be answered by the people tasked to conduct the review.

    Let me say again. The list of challenges you listed are simply those. Challenges. They are not impossible to change. The possibilities for FSC are greater than many people realise. But we must adopt a more positive mental attitude, confront the realities, map out the possibilities, evaluate the pros and cons, make the decision and follow through with action, etc, etc To those who think it is impossible, let me say this. Read about the transformation of the Japanese economy after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War 2. From the ashes of WW 2, Japan rose to become a most powerful and global economy. Study the history and growth of China and its economy. Not many years ago, China was largely a peasant economy and many countries thought they would remain a sleeping giant. Today, it has surpassed the USA as the largest economy in the world. How are these possible? That Mukesh is what I am talking about. Transformation. But that is only possible when you believe that nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing.

    • saunivalu Says:

      Tom, I agree with your comments whole heartedly, yet the differences between Japan and Fiji Are as follows
      1. The people of Japan had a common leadership after the war.
      2. Every Japanese had a common goal and that was to rebuild their War torn country
      3. They had a process that every Japanese recognised and followed.
      4. They were not forced to do anything or had the barrel of the gun pointing down at them.
      5 They did not have a dictator like Fiji.

      Your points are all relevant if we all have a common goal for Fiji and are all standing on the same side of the field but we aren’t Fiji is split into two factions. Those that don’t understand and don’t care about democracy and Politics and the likes of us who saw things in a different light, We want to uphold the rule of law, we care about and understand the intricacies of the economics of Fiji.etc etc

      You are a great educator and a very positive person in my view and I applaud that.

      Our people need to be educated to see the light about what they are entitled to, not about ownership or anything else but about the well being or the health of their own decision making.

  9. mukesh Says:

    Sugar industry is dying slowing and has ran its race. There is no need to argue about that.
    Larger plantation type farming is impossible and mechanical harvesters will not work on commercial scale because most land are hilly and harvesters are not designed to work on hilly lands.
    Another issue that the mechanical harvesters have is they must be thoroughly cleaned on continuous basis or else there is danger of catching fire, this has had happened to most machines brought earlier in Fiji.
    Existing cane farmers need to diversify and start alternative cropping before it is too late.
    A simple illustration of a normal cane farmer income, note that this money is received on four or five instalments Majority cane farmers crop is under 200 tonnes
    Income (200 tonne of cane @$60 per tonnes). $12,000.00
    Less cost,
    Harvesting (200 tonnes @ $25.00 per tonnes) $5,000.00
    Fertilizer cost (80 bags @$35.00 per bag). $2,800.00
    Land lease (TLTB or Crown or Other). $. 850.00
    Profit before other sundry cost $3350.00

    Other cost includes, planting, cultivating, causal labours, road repairs, drainage, SCGC Levy, tractor hire, and so many other.

    Readers, I now leave here for you to judge what and how much a typical cane grower earns in a year, still they are showing their teeth and smiling and our politicians take them on ride. Yesterday, I read with interest that on minimum an elected member of parliament in Fiji will earn $50,000.00.

    I leave for readers to judge. God bless Fiji

  10. Mukesh Says:

    The Rarawai Mill in Ba, is having mechanical problem as a result cane is now diverted to Lautoka.
    Due to absence of transparency and inefficient Sugar Cane Growers Council, cane growers are losing fair proceed for the cane the supply.
    Although many truck drivers are winners, and growers whose cane is diverted get some compensation but overall the cane farmers are losers.
    Another reason people moving out of industry.

  11. Tomasi Says:

    @Saunivalu. Thank you for your comments. Yes, we need to get away from our narrow cubicles and compartments and see our country from a common and free perspectives, without any splint in our eyes. As you said, Japan was able to make the transition because they had leaders who had a common vision, the population bought into that vision and took ownership of it, they followed a strategy and they did so willingly and freely out of love for their country and the realisation that the path they had pursued led them to destruction both in the physical and spiritual sense. We in Fiji can learn from that. We do not have to destroy ourselves to learn that lesson. But yes, we need better leadership and a compelling vision of a future we all can embrace. That vision must be rooted on the principles of truth, righteousness, love, justice and freedom for all.

    @ Mukesh, I believe you are genuinely concerned about the sugar industry and the welfare of our people who are part of that. I have tried to share with you some ideas that will help us move ahead and away from the current insolvent state of FSC. I only have a final remark to add which I hope will help you see the fundamental point I have been talking about. The word is perspective.

    Someone said this; “Two men reached out of the same prison bars. One looked down and saw the mud. The other looked up and saw the stars”.

    In a nutshell my friend, we can all look at the same situation or problem or challenge. But we will generally come out with different observations and conclusions. It depends on our perspectives. One saw the mud because he looked down. All he could see was the negatives, the weaknesses and the problems. The other looked up and saw the stars. He saw opportunities, possibilities and a brighter future. I prefer to see bottles half full rather than half empty. I prefer to look up and see the stars, the possibilities and the positives we can build on to create a new and better tomorrow. The journey becomes much more exciting, meaningful and rewarding from that perspective. Vinaka.

  12. Mukesh Says:

    Tomasi.. Perspective!!!!!! What perspective????? The dictator leader has taken control of the industry and poor cane growers have no say where they have 70% stake. Government and FCS is reaping off the poor farmers. Fertilizer price is still record high, just because SPF is defunct, and milling efficiencies and proceed sharing date is hidden, just to mention few.. And also FSC chairman bullshits each time he opens his mouth. It would be best for cane farmers to quit, rather than make Baini Khaiyum live link Kings

  13. Tomasi Says:

    @ Mukesh, I am on your side my friend. I hear you loud and clear and I understand how you feel. You have given us a very detailed description of the problems facing the FSC and the industry. I agree with you. But what I am saying is that we use that to craft a new vision and set new goals for the industry and all those involved. Figure out the new possibilities with a new mind-set and perspective (out of the box framework). Map a new pathway to achieve those goals. Communicate these to all stakeholders so that they all buy into the vision and secure their commitment and support.

    But it must start with a careful and thorough analysis of the situation. That includes identifying the problems, like those you have done yourself. It may also mean radical changes regarding crops, marketing, harvesting, labour and management, organisation structure, ownership and control.

    I repeat Mukesh. There are possibilities available. We can identify those and move in a radically new direction towards prosperity for those involved and for the whole nation. If I was the Minister Responsible for Sugar, I would do precisely that. The funds for that Review is available. The people to constitute that Committee are available. The only element that is missing my friend is the effective leadership of the visionary kind. That is why I stated in my first comment to remove the monkey, Voreqe, and his clown Abdul Khan from the scene, simply because this is not a circus but a totally serious business. Hundreds of thousands of families depend on it. I do not depend on it but I care about our people who do. Thank you Mukesh. I rest my case. Vinaka.

  14. Ratu Kamikamica Says:

    i vote for tomasi as the new ceo of fsc…go boy

  15. Mukesh Says:

    Tomasi… Many thanks for your kind words and understanding of the subject. One last point before I also rest on this subject, if Bainimarama being the minister of sugar, is serious about the industry than he should get back people like Jones Nakauvandra, a very experienced officer now the CEO of Lautoka Council. His knowledge of the industry is so superior than Seru Vularika, Manasa Vaniqi, and Abdul Khan combined.

  16. Tomasi Says:

    @Mukesh, you have options, but let me suggest two. First, you may approach the Govt, i.e. Khaiyum and/or Voreqe. But let me remind you about the experiences of Master Bilitaki and the phoyographer at Govt. house. Maybe you take Option 2. Make a similar approach to the Opposition Leader and her team. If they have formed a Shadow Cabinet, that would be great. Identify the relevant Ministers, refine your presentation and let them hear it.

    Remember my friend, great achievements usually begin with a single step. You have some valuable knowledge of the industry. Who knows, we can still rescue the wounded animal and help thousands of our families and our nation. God bless you and our country my friend. Vinaka.

  17. mukesh Says:

    I am more than happy to join the FSC board and assist in restoring confidence in sugar industry

  18. Tomasi Says:

    Precisely Mukesh. That is an option you would have to explore with the power duo, Bai and Khai. I reckon you will make an excellent contribution because of the incisive knowledge and understanding you possess of the industry. That and your genuine concern to help our people and our nation would be excellent reasons to have you on the Board. BTW, you might have to be one of their cronies to join their Boards but good luck to you sir.

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