23 May 2013

Fiji sugar rep rejects claim industry on way back up

7:44 pm on 23 May 2013

The Fiji Cane Growers Association says the local media has grossly overstated the impact of a higher payout for the 2012 season.

The payout, which is expected to exceed 80 Fiji dollars per ton, has been called a record but the Association general secretary, Bala Dass, says that figure has been achieved before, in 1998, when operating costs were much lower.

Mr Dass says while the payment is of some relief to the cane farmers, it is not a catalyst for reviving an ailing industry.

Mr Dass says the reality is that the majority of the cane farmers cannot survive on the few thousand dollars they earn from their sugar crop.

He says with the European Union continuing to withhold its aid support to the sector, the Fiji sugar industry is doomed.

The EU cancelled its annual allocation to the Fiji industry in 2009 after the regime reneged on a commitment to hold elections that year.