11 Apr 2003

Fiji Labour Party leader says Indian farmers are economic animals used by governemnt

3:09 pm on 11 April 2003

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says ethnic Indian cane farmers are nothing short of what he calls economic animals who are being used by the government and the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

Mr Chaudhry says the two are using Indian farmers to shoulder the burden of their bad management practices and financial dilemmas.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Chaudhry made the comment as general secretary of the National Farmers Union while addressing a meeting of 300 farmers at Nadi.

He said cane farmers must stand up and fight for economic justice and refuse to work as economic animals.

Mr Chaudhry said farmers have long been manipulated and used by those associated with the industry who did not know their jobs and who were quick to filter the financial burden on to farmers.

He pointed to the increase in the sugar export tax from 3 percent to 10 percent this year just one example of this.