24 May 2003

Fiji Farmers Union maintains threat of sugar harvest boycott

8:32 am on 24 May 2003

The general secretary of the Fiji National Farmers Union, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the country's sugar cane farmers shouldn't have to foot the bill for the failings of the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

Mr Chaudhry objects to the government's intention to restructure the sugar industry which he says means taking money away from the farmers and giving it to the Corporation.

He says that under the stewardship of the current board, the Corporation has incurred mounting losses over the past three years.

The Fiji Labour Party leader says that in any responsible company, the board of directors must be accountable for this state of affairs.

"There is no reason we see that the farmers' share of the sugar proceeds should be reduced so that the company can be helped out of its mess. The farmers are barely managing with their share of the proceeds. And if that is reduced and pumped into the company then the farmers will of course suffer financially."

Mahendra Chaudhry has maintained the threat of a harvest boycott, saying there are a number of issues the National Farmers Union wants resolved before harvesting can begin this year.