18 Aug 2009

Claims new moves by Fiji interim government will leave sugar growers vulnerable

10:30 am on 18 August 2009

A farmer's advocate says the Fiji interim government plans to dissolve the Sugar Cane Growers' Council will leave the 22 000 sugar farmers powerless.

The move is intended as another step towards restructuring the industry after the Sugar Commission and Fiji Sugar Marketing were wound down earlier this year.

But former CEO of the Growers' Council, Jaganath Sami, says the farmers will no longer have a collective voice.

"So you can see the path the regime is taking is to give absolute power to the milling company and they will be calling the shots. So the growers will be in a very vulnerable, very weak position."

Jaganath Sami, former CEO of the Fiji Sugar Growers' Council, says the signs don't look good for the cane farmers with Fiji unable to meet its export market commitments, while it is also importing sugar for domestic consumption.