Thursday, March 6, 2008

[PBN] Clarification on Sugar from Ethanol in Fiji


Ethanol solution

I REFER to your editorial comment titled The ethanol solution' (FT 4/3).

Fiji produces about 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes of molasses annually and
not 500,000 tonnes as stated in your editorial.

Molasses production between 2003 and 2007 averaged 122,221 tonnes a year.

Fiji receives a fair price for its molasses on the international market
and about 5000 tonnes is sold locally.

Some molasses is sold under a long-term arrangement which has cushioned
the industry in times of depressed world market prices.

Fiji Sugar Corporation has entered into an arrangement with a Japanese
company to produce ethanol from molasses to provide added value benefits.

The project is part of the overall restructure program being done in the
sugar industry.

One of the difficulties in producing ethanol from molasses has been the
disposal of the effluent resulting from the process.

This will now be overcome by using the effluent in the bio-compost
fertiliser plant that will be operational later this year.

Those commenting or reporting on sugar industry issues are welcome to
contact the Fiji Sugar Marketing Company or the Sugar Commission of Fiji
for information.

John May
Chairman Sugar Commission of Fiji

(this is a reaction to an earlier post that is re-posted below)


The ethanol solution

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

THE interest shown by a Chinese company in producing ethanol here is
welcome but warrants further investigation.

Attempts have been made in the past - beginning with the Alliance
Government to produce ethanol here using sugar cane or tavioka (cassava).

This most recent attempt appears to entail the conversion of vast
swathes of sugar cane fields into tavioka plantations.

It has been touted as a solution to the land problem in the cane belt
and a revenue earner for the indigenous people.

But let us not be carried away by these grand suggestions in our haste
to resolve inter-racial relations.

This country produces close to 500,000 tonnes of molasses each year as a
by-product of sugar.

Much of this molasses is shipped overseas for a pittance. The low sale
price is made worse by the high cost of transportation.

It would make more sense to keep this commodity on shore for use in
ethanol production.

In this way, money could be saved on shipping costs.

It is common knowledge that close to 40 per cent of the cane farms
produce around 60 per cent of the sugar manufactured in Fiji.

These farms must be identified and helped to maximise annual output of
quality sugar.

The remaining 40 per cent need not be turned over to tavioka.

The farms can be converted to vegetable production centres to boost
production of food needed in the tourism industry.

Landowners can then plant tavioka on land which is not currently in use.

Such a project would ensure that most, if not all, the land in the
country was put to good use.

Local production of ethanol would lead to a reduction in imports of fuel
and lead to greater employment.

Everyone would benefit.

At the same time, however, there is a need to point out to the
landowners that tavioka sold at around $0.60 a kilogram will not be the
solution to their economic woes. It is only a start.

True salvation from economic slavery will only come about when the
indigenous people decide to put their land to use in order to educate
their children at the highest possible level.

Real satisfaction will come when they turn their backs on State handouts
and forge into the agricultural sector with vigour and purpose.

It is no easy task. This exercise will require commitment, redeployment
of savings and resources from the church and vanua to personal development.

When this happens, the indigenous people will realise that only through
their own had work can they claim ownership of this land.

Check for earlier Pacific Biofuel posts:

No comments: