7 Apr 2008

Fiji Cane Growers head says crisis follows pre-coup warnings

1:15 pm on 7 April 2008

The Fiji Cane Growers Association's national president, Attar Singh, says the failure to heed warnings against the military coup has now resulted in the local ailing sugar industry losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from the European Union.

Addressing members at the Association's Labasa branch annual general meeting, Mr Singh said a series of consequential actions were taken by the military government, which had resulted in worsening conditions for the industry.

He said those behind the coup paid no heed to warnings from the then CEO of the Sugar Cane Growers Council, Jaganath Sami, that any military intervention to remove an elected government would result in Fiji losing out on EU financial assistance to salvage the sugar industry.

Fiji Live reports that Mr Singh told the audience that the result has been the suspension of the EU grant, declining cane and sugar production, deteriorating infrastructures and pathetic mill performances in the 2007 season.