Ethanol plant plans

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An excavator removes the pieces of metal left after demolishing the Penang Sugar Mill in Rakiraki. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Government will build an ethanol plant at Rakiraki instead of another sugar mill.

The ethanol plant, Sugar Minister Charan Jeath Singh said would generate income for Fiji Sugar Corporation.

This income, he said would become a company profit, allowing FSC to get rid of years of relying on Government for loan.

“The plant in Rakiraki will make ethanol and this plan has come up after we visited India and saw how all sugar mills there make ethanol,” he said.

“We will use sugar cane juice and molasses to make ethanol and sell it so that the company can get some other form of income.”

For the mill in Labasa, plans are considered to set up a separate plant to turn brown sugar into white sugar.

Mr Singh said local sugar had been exported to other countries that have made white sugar out of it and sold it back to Fiji.

“Why can’t we just make white sugar here and sell it at a higher price? White sugar costs more than brown sugar and a lot of companies use it to make juice, biscuits and other sweet products but they spend a lot of money to buy from overseas.

“In two years time you will see changes in the Labasa mill as we work towards producing white sugar.”

The three sugar mills, he said only produced brown sugar and it showed the lack of vision past executives and ministers had about the sugar industry.

Mr Singh has pleaded with cane farmers to increase production to supply the two new plants planned for Rakiraki and Labasa.

“You also need to play your role and produce more crops. “In India, one hectare produce 100 tonnes of cane but we have not achieved that in Fiji,” he said.

“So please work with our team to help increase production for our mill.”

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