26 Mar 2003

Fiji sugar cane growers call on government to delay restructuring

11:11 am on 26 March 2003

The Sugar Cane Growers Council of Fiji says the government should heed the Asian Development bank's recommendation to delay the restructuring of the sugar industry.

Council chief executive, Jaganath Sami, says they agree with the ADB's report which stated that the restructuring plan was incomplete and needed further work.

Mr Sami says plans to reform the industry from the 1st April should be put on hold.

"I think the ball is really in the government's court, I think the government needs to be more cautious in this now that the ADB has given a very clear report as to the pros and the cons of rushing this restructure plan, and I I'm sure the Prime Minister and the government will take heed of this report."

Mr Sami says the cane farmers are the major stakeholders in the industry and what happens to them if they're displaced by the restructure hasn't been properly thought through.

He also says he would like to see independent people appointed to review the crushing operation this season to find out why the industry is making losses.