6 Jul 2010

Optimism in Fiji's sugar industry despite cutbacks

2:55 pm on 6 July 2010

Optimism about Fiji's sugar industry is growing despite the Fiji Sugar Corporation announcing massive job cuts.

The Corporation has announced it will reduce its budget by more than eight million US dollars, including a reduction in manpower by 40 percent over the next 18 months.

The Sugar Cane Growers Council's Chief Executive, Sundresh Chetty, says he's been given an assurance it will have no impact on farmers.

The Corporation says it needs nearly double the amount of cane that is currently been grown to remain viable, and Mr Chetty says everyone is geared towards increasing production.

"Government has been assisting the growers, together with the millers. They have put in six million dollars for cane development this year. They have also given huge amounts for fertiliser subsidies, upgrading of cane access roads, and many other things. And recently they have announced they will be seeking the renewal of land leases for 99 years, which is a very welcome gesture as far as the growers are concerned."

Sundresh Chetty says longer leases will give farmers confidence to invest in increasing production.