23 Feb 2009

Fiji Labour Party against changes to sugar industry structure

6:41 am on 23 February 2009

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, is opposing the dissolution of the three sugar bodies as approved by Cabinet.

Cabinet move will see the dissolution of the Sugar Commission of Fiji, the Fiji Sugar Marketing, and the transfer of responsibilities of the Sugar Research Institute to the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

Mr Chaudhry says his party cautions against the changes as it will result in the Fiji Sugar Corporation playing the dominant role and consequential marginalisation of the cane growers.

He said 70 per cent of sugar proceeds belonged to the growers and the Sugar Cane Growers Council should play the leading role in the marketing of sugar to ensure that the best deal was secured for their produce.

Fiji Live quotes Mr Chaudhry as saying the importance of the industry could not be over-emphasised as it sustains the livelihood of some 20 per cent of Fiji's population.

The interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, said that the sugar industry structure set up in the 1980s had outlived its usefulness and had become more of a burden.