1 Apr 2009

Fiji Sugar Commission says fertiliser deal unavoidable

3:10 pm on 1 April 2009

The chairman of the Fiji Sugar Commission says industry stakeholders had no choice but to prop up the financially troubled South Pacific Fertiliser Company.

Controversy has erupted over the decision to deduct 3.6 million US dollars from the sugar price to be paid to the Growers Fund to help the company.

The Cane Growers Association says the decision was approved by the then Sugar Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, without the knowledge of farmers.

But the chairman of the Sugar Commission and the Cane Growers Fund, John May says there was no choice but to support the fertiliser company because without it the industry would be at risk.

"Mr Chaudhry was involved in 2007 and 2008 in the decision making, but I was present at the decision making, there was no alternative we could consider and everybody involved in the meeting including Cane Growers Council reps approved the plan of action and no-one had an alternative view."

John May says while individual farmers may not have been involved in making the decision, they did have representatives present.