Archive for the ‘Fiji's failing sugar industry’ Category

Mills breakdown when issues get caught in the crusher

June 23, 2014

The turbine at Rarawai mill in Lautoka broke down on the first day of the season, signally an ominous sign for another harvest marred by mill problems. According to Abdul Khan, who pro-regime bloggers keep reminding us in an engineer, the breakdown was apparently caused by “an issue”. The Penang mill in Rakiraki also got off to a bad start when an “issue” got caught in the equipment there as well and led to a break-down.

Fiji Times, June 21, 2014 Mill breaks down


World’s worst liar

June 17, 2014


Abdul Khan is lucky he only has to fool Dumb and Dumber

Abdul Khan has no challenger for the title of world’s worst liar, but he can still break his own records.  His latest challenge to his title comes with his comments on the dirty sugar that’s been appearing on supermarket shelves. Many people thought it was caused by importing sugar after all the local production had been exported. But, no, Abdul Khan assures us, we are now capable of producing a shit product ourselves.  No sugar has been imported, it’s all from our mills.  So what do we make of his statement: “We had stopped bagging the darker coloured sugar months ago so I’m surprised that this is still appearing on the selves”?  Last year’s harvest finished months ago, so of course “we” stopped bagging it.  Did he tell us to expect crap sugar at the time?

Fiji Times June 14 2014 Sugar colour issues

Land Bank nowhere to be seen in cane lease renewals

June 17, 2014

The Sugar Cane Growers Council wants to meet with the traditional landowners of Nawaicoba, one of the most productive sugar cane growing areas in Nadi, to discuss lease renewal.  TLTB CEO, Alipate Qetaki, has confirmed his office is involved, leaving us wondering where the Frank Land Bank is when cane leases need to be renewed. Bainimarama boasts that his Land Bank charges no fees, leaving more for landowners, so why isn’t FLB stepping in to solve the problem? Is the Land Bank waiting in the wings for the collapse of the sugar industry to allow Chinese interests to step in and grab big tracts of land in return for taking over FSC debts on terms that will leave landowners and tenants wondering what happened?  Let’s hope landowners and tenants can sort something out with the idiot Qetaki there to help.

Fiji Times June 14 2014 Lease meeting

What a difference a year makes

June 16, 2014

This time last year Bainimarama was threatening to bring the army in to take over FSC mills if the  workers didn’t accept the tiny wage increase he threw at them. Now with the election approaching Bainimarama is telling the workers how wonderful they are and granting them an immediate pay increase, backdated, of course.  “In your next pay packet, every worker from FSC is going to get a pay rise of five percent, backdated to 1st January of this year”.  And it’s all because of the election.  The FSC workers need to understand that if Bainimarama wins the election they will have no protection from the Essential National industries Decree, which allows the government to cut pay, fire workers and jail any unionists who protest.  The Election is the only thing that’s keeping them safe for now, and voting Bainimarama out is the only thing that will keep them safe in the long run.

Fiji Sun 15 June 2014  FSC Employees 5 Percent Rise

Latest FSC stuff-up is unbelieveable

June 11, 2014

The regime run FSC has been promising the quality payment system for cane for years and this year was supposed to be THE year for introduction. But at the last moment they’ve been forced to admit it won’t go ahead.  Have they forgotten they said the system was “on hold” in 2012?  According to Abdul Khan, FSC has done tests in Labasa to determine the quality of the cane and the results have “been good and looks positive for us”.  Does he really expect us to believe this? Yields have been going down for years as farmers have cut back on fertiliser due to high prices and doubts about whether their investment will be safe with FSC in the hands of a regime that has lied for years about the management of FSC.

Fiji Times June 11 2014 New pay system on hold

Fiji Times 23 May 2012 New Formula on hold

All parties ‘spiked’ on land

June 10, 2014

Prof Spike Boydell, who many will remember from his days as the head of Land Management and Development at USP, has rolled a hand grenade with the pin pulled into the middle of the election campaign.  He’s called on all parties to come clean on land.  He’s told Dr Biman Prasad his simple solution of leases for up to 99 years is a recipe for another coup. But NFP is not alone in this “naivete”.  Spike has drawn on the past wisdom of the late Savenaca Siawtibau whose words 12 years ago are as true today as they were then: “Land tenure, like culture and tradition, stands to evolve organically over time within a society”.  In other words, we don’t need the top-down imposed revolution of Bainimarama, we need a dialogue which allows all parties to travel together.  So far, says prof Spike, none of the parties have stepped up with what is needed to tackle this problem, making access to land more flexible while providing the level of protection landowners have made clear they expect.

Fiji Times June 07, 2014  Time bomb ticks on




The murky world of FSC finances

June 10, 2014

FSC claims it paid back “part of its initial $US50 million ($F92.5m) loan” and then taken out a further loan of $US5million (F$9.2m) from EXIM Bank of India.  How much is part? How much is being paid in interest? If Bainimarama had not told the EU to get lost the industry could have had hundreds of millions  in real aid, not loans that have to be paid back, to help improve efficiency and put farmers in a position to cope with lower prices for sugar.  The biggest worry for our cane farmers is the addiction of the Bainimarama regime to lying.

Fiji Times June 09 2014  Additional India loan for Fiji


Does the regime fear the collapse of sugar?

June 5, 2014

What’s the best advice the Bainimarama regime can given to the battered cane farmers? Grow something else! They’re calling it ‘inter cropping farming’ but what it means is cane farmers are being told to plant something other than sugar on part of their land. They say this is to supplement their income but if the other crops pay more than sugar, why not move over into them. If the other crops pay less, why should cane farmers earn less? If FSC can’t be sure of the price they can pay farmers with their poorly functioning mills, why not just say so? Cane farmers deserve the truth.

Radio Fiji 3 June, 2014 Farmers urged to practice inter cropping

More land problems

June 3, 2014

Cane farms are burning and the harvest season hasn’t even started. This is devastating to the farmers concerned who have lost income they rely on to feed their families. Fiji Sun is threatening to bring the law down on all the arsonists but Fiji Times is letting us know what the real problems are. National Farmers Union president Surendra Lal told the Fiji Times what the real problem is – it’s disputes over land. He says “It’s only proper for people to sit and solve their problems in an appropriate manner because burning someone’s cane farm will not bring anything good”. We all know this is the only way land disputes get solved but the Bainimarama way is to use force and it seems that this is catching.

Fiji Times June 03, 2014 Disputes affect farmers

Fiji Sun June 2, 2014 ‘Cowardly Acts’

Doesn’t he understand?

May 30, 2014

Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama is visiting Jamaica to attend the 45th Annual International Sugar Organisation (ISO) Council conference. He must be very confident of winning the elections. He doesn’t think he even needs to stay home to campaign. He can fly First Class around the globe at taxpayers expense. If he had any shame he wouldn’t show his face. He’s the world’s most unsuccessful sugar minister. He’s halved sugar production by lowering cane planting, reducing yield per hectare and turning harvest into an annual chaos season.

Radio Fiji 28 May 2014 PM attends international sugar meet