I felt really pressed to take a tour of the Fiji Sugar Corporation mill before they closed for the season. We made three trips to Labasa before we scored a tour. We took a trip with our cruising friends, Dave and Wendy on sv Elysium.
|Wendy walking by the rows of loaded trolley cars|
|Dave waiting for our tour guide|
|Friendly farmers - well, one is anyway|
Lines of sugar cane trucks and tractors waited to be admitted to the dumping station. Some had been waiting for hours and were eager for the opportunity to chat with us.
It surprised us all that this third world country has a cogeneration mill. We learned the sugar cane is crushed, the juice extracted and routed to the steam boiler. The fiber from the stalk is dried and turned into "baguesse", or fuel material. The baguesse is burned to power the steam boilers. It's not only completely self sustaining, but the mill sells its leftover energy to the power company.
|Carolyne in her hard hat, safety glasses and ear plugs|
|Our tour guides, Alfred (left) and Lindsey (right)|
|Dave and Jim weaving through cane trucks|
The mud squeezed from the cane stalks is sold as fertilizer. Molasses is not only bottled and sold as syrup, but farmers use it to fatten livestock.
|A group of employees wait for their shift|
|Delivering a load of sugar cane|
|Waiting under the shade of a tree for the line to move forward|
Employees are an investment, chosen at young ages for apprenticeships. They work up the ranks and their education is funded by the company if they are dedicated.