Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ramu to increase sugar production


Ramu Agri Industries Ltd will increase its harvest of sugar to reach a production target of 43,000 tonnes per annum over the next five years.
General manager Jamie Graham said this will meet the demands of the growing PNG market.
The output taget will be predominantly for the growing PNG market as the company does not export its sugar, Graham said.

Cane harvestor (left) and tractor at work in the cane fields of the Ramu Valley last Friday.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU
He said the  threat of weed and pests has been controlled,  thanks to the company's efficient research and development department headed by national scientist, Dr Lastus Kuniata.
This production will be predominantly for the growing PNG market as the company does not export its sugar.
Last year, RAIL produced about 36,000 tonnes of sugar from a total harvest of 397,000 tonnes.
Graham told The National that the company also planned to extract 3 million litres of ethanol per year from the sugar.
“We’ve got a very good crop in the field (now),” Graham said.
“It would be good to have a bit of dry weather.”
Agriculture manager Paul Lloyd said the company currently had about 7,900ha of sugar plantings at Gusap in the Ramu Valley.
“We divide the estate into seven farms of about 1,300ha,” he said.
“It’s a fully-mechanised operation from land preparation, planting, fertilising, weed control and then harvesting.
“We have a few labourers but this is as advanced as the Queensland sugar industry in terms of mechanism.
“We aim to grow up to 450,000 tonnes of cane a year – this will give us about 40,000 tonnes of sugar.
“We harvest for six months from mid-April to mid-October.
“This corresponds with our dry period.”
Lloyd said the threat of weeds and pests was still there.
“We have a lot of problems and challenges,” he said.
“Weed control is one of the greatest.
“We have a fully-mechanised spraying operation.
“Pest control is another one.
“We have a very-efficient research department.”
Lloyd said natural predators were used to control weeds and aerial spraying was sometimes used to control pests.
RAIL currently has about nine harvesters, 32 large tractors, 62 small tractors, 84 cane bins, and a large seasonal workforce that works in three shifts seven days a week.

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