Fiji PM: Government will not give up on the sugar industry

The Fijian Government will not give up on the sugar industry.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made the comments while speaking at the 48th Session of the International Sugar Organization (ISO) Council in London.

Bainimarama said the sugar cane industry is Fiji’s second biggest revenue earner and involves around 200,000 Fijians.

Government, Bainimarama said is committed to modernizing the industry by embracing new technology to improve yields.

 He added sugar is irreplaceable economically especially in the near term and cannot be allowed to decline.

 This has resulted in Government allocating $23.8 million (US$11 million) in the 2016 Budget to the sector.

Bainimarama stated Government’s plans at maximizing the sugar extraction from every stick of cane.

He also highlighted how Government was looking into pursuing other uses for sugar cane such as pulp and building materials.

Bainimarama says the challenge for the industry in Fiji has never been greater, as the preferential access to the European market draws to a close in 2017.

Bainimarama also updated the council on the prolonged drought that affected the planting programme which was aborted where less than half of the 3,000 hectares targeted was planted.

According to Bainimarama as of 02 November 2015, two of the four sugar mills completed their crushing and the other two mills should finish their crushing by the 30th of this month.

He says against the crop estimates of 2.1 million tonnes made in March, crop harvested has yielded 1.9 million tonnes.