16 Oct 2013

Fiji Labour Party slams government's plan for sugar industry

11:36 am on 16 October 2013

The Fiji Labour Party says the sugar industry strategic plan announced by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama at the meeting of African Caribbean and Pacific sugar ministers in Sigatoka, is propaganda and its targets are unachievable.

Commodore Bainimarama told ministers that Fiji has to diversify its sugar industry to insulate it from the uncertainty brought by price fluctuations on the world market for raw sugar.

He says this would include ethanol production and the refining of raw sugar.

But the Labour Party's Mahendra Chaudhry says it would be impossible without a marked increase in production.

He says sugar production has halved in the past five years and given this decline the targets could be not achieved.

And Mr Chaudhry says an authoritarian management style has demoralised growers, and he says the agencies which represented them have been arbitrarily dismantled.

He says more than 3000 growers have left the industry in the past 3 years.