1 Jul 2008

Fiji Sugar Corporation struggles to make quota

10:42 am on 1 July 2008

The Fiji Sugar Corporation might not be able to meet the first quota under the billion-dollar export deal with the European Union if cane supply problems continue.

FSC acting chief executive Deo Saran told the Fiji Times Online that since the season started four weeks ago, all mills have been plagued with poor cane supply and many mills closed their operation weekly because there was not enough cane for crushing.

He said that the corporation could end up forking out more money if the required tonnage was not available when the shipment is due.

The industry is expected to export between 25,000 and 30,000 tonnes of sugar to the EU market.

Mr Saran has pleaded with growers throughout the country to improve and stabilise supply so the industry could meet its first shipment schedule for this month.

He said it could affect their first export commitment under the seven-year deal between FSC and traditional EU market buyer, Tate & Lyle.

The contract secured by FSC is part of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and ACP States under the union's sugar regime reform that would supersede the sugar protocol from October next year.

The contract that consists of the export of about 300,000 tonnes annually is worth more than 600 thousand US dollars.