Chaudhry says cane farmers want delivery payment to be increased to $40 while Brown maintains he cannot increase it

Chaudhry says cane farmers want delivery payment to be increased to $40 while Brown maintains he cannot increase it

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 18/06/2021
National Farmers Union General Secretary, Mahendra Chaudhry.

National Farmers Union General Secretary, Mahendra Chaudhry says cane farmers want the delivery payment of $32.61 a tonne to be increased to $42 along with a forecast cane price of $70 per tonne however the Registrar of the Sugar Industry Tribunal, Timothy Brown says he cannot increase the delivery payment.

Chaudhry says on average, harvesting and delivery cost the farmers around $40 a tonne and they should not be forced to harvest at a loss with $32.61 as delivery payment.

He says the Tribunal must explain why it has reduced the delivery pay from $38.50 to $32.61 if the harvesting and cartage rates of 2020 are to be retained for 2021.

Chaudhry says the order by the Sugar Industry Tribunal to retain the 2020 harvesting and cartage rates for the 2021 season, does not help resolve the current harvest dispute between the growers and FSC.

When contacted, Brown says the delivery payment has to be 60 percent of the forecast cane price under the Master Award and this is how $32.61 was worked out.

He says anything over and above will be advanced to cane farmers by the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

Brown further says the Sugar Industry Tribunal can only publish the forecast price based on the actual sugar sold. He says the revenue received, less the deductions for industry cost is then distributed to the growers and FSC. The growers receive 70 percent share while FSC receives 30 percent.

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