The Fiji Sugar Corporation has secured its first Fairtrade accredited sugar sale for this year, a development that will benefit its Fairtrade Agreement and grower members.
FSC Board Chairman, Vishnu Mohan confirmed this at the conclusion of FSC’s August board meeting in Lautoka noting that the sale is for 15,000 tonnes of raw sugar that will be shipped by the end of this month.
“The Fairtrade sale is destined for Europe, and will earn a premium of nearly $2 million, which will be paid equally and directly by the buyer to our three Fairtrade Associations in Fiji,” he said.
“Further opportunities are being evaluated by FSC for the benefit of our growers, and with assistance from the European Union, a Fairtrade market survey is underway to help in identifying new Fairtrade opportunities.
FSC will continue to pursue this unique benefit for Fiji.”
The FSC also announced that its 2018 bulk sugar export program is well underway and due to load its first cargo this month for the United Kingdom and European markets.
A consecutive loading and shipment is scheduled in September for the American quota, with the next cargo in November, likely for the Chinese market.
“Depending on the final volume of sugar manufactured, a fifth and final cargo is being scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, possibly destined for Japan or China,” Mohan noted.
The FSC’s three mills in Lautoka, Ba and Labasa have produced a total of 26,608 tonnes of sugar as of July 31, 2018, compared to 26,341 tonnes for the same period last year.
Sugar recoveries are steadily improving and to date TCTS (tonnes cane per tonne sugar) is approximately 10.5 – similar to 2017, but on track to reduce below the 2017 seasonal average of 9.1.
“I make special mention of the good progress that has been made financially in 2018. FSC will report a further reduction in its net loss for the 2018 financial year,” Mohan added.
“In addition, positive earnings before interest and depreciation will be reported, compared to the negative results reported in previous years. Key to this achievement has been the month-on-month improvements in cost control throughout the company, and better working capital management.”
This year’s annual forecast also showed signs of improvement, with Mohan confirming that cane yields to date noting some 7 per cent above estimate.
“Should this trend be maintained, then 1.75 million tonnes of cane could be harvested in 2018.”
The FSC Board Chairman said this revised cane estimate would be 7 per cent higher than 2017 actual cane production.