6 May 2002

Fiji sugar leaders to meet this week

2:50 pm on 6 May 2002

Proposals to restructure Fiji's ailing sugar industry are expected to go before the Great Council of Chiefs this week.

The Chairman of the Council, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has invited three industry leaders to meet with the chiefs and explain proposals to them.

The leaders are Gerald Barrack from the Sugar Commission, John McFadden from the Fiji Sugar Corporation and Jaganath Sami, the executive of the Grower's Council.

Mr Sami has told the Sun newspaper that the new proposal is for the four sugar mills to obtain a master lease for all cane land in their area from the Native Land Trust Board.

He says growers will only plant cane and this will ensure that the landowners get their land rents on time.

More than 3-thousand expired leases have not been renewed by the NLTB and sugar cane production has declined by about 1-POINT-6 million tonnes a year.