14 Dec 2007

Drought prompts Fiji to import sugar from India

2:36 pm on 14 December 2007

Fiji is to import more than 20,000 tonnes of sugar from India to make up for a shortfall in production.

The shipments will arrive monthly, starting in January, while all local produced sugar is exported.

It is the first time Fiji has imported sugar since 1999.

Chief Executive officer of Fiji sugar marketing, Viliame Savou, says it is a necessity, but Fiji will still be at an advantage because the price of imported sugar is significantly cheaper than the preferential prices the European Union gives.

"We had a drought midseason, so there was a significant drop in crop. Early in the season, we were looking at around 3 million tonnes of cane. That dropped to around 2.6 million tonnes. I'm not quite sure how much [we will] end up with when the Labasa mill stops later this month."

Viliame Savou says the price of sugar in Fiji won't go up, because it has to be maintained at the current level.