17 Mar 2004

Fiji government called on to intervene in sugar dispute

5:25 pm on 17 March 2004

The Fiji government is being asked to intervene in a dispute between cane farmers and the Fiji Sugar Corporation, the FSC.

Jaganath Sami, the chief executive of the Cane Growers council, says he's spoken to the minister of agriculture after farmers in Rakiraki were told by the Penang mill, that they couldn't transport their cane by rail.

The mill is one of four run by the FSC.

Mr Sami says under the master award, the FSC is required to provide rail transport for the cane but if it refuses to do so, then the council will take the matter to the Sugar Tribunal.

"I don't believe this matter should even go to the tribunal because the master award, the agreement is very clear. I think there is an attitude problem in the corporation's management to unilaterally wanting to impose something outside the agreement between the growers and the miller."

Mr Sami says he expects the minister, Jonetani Galuinadi, to respond to his concerns in the near future.

He says a boycott of the harvest would be the last option.