Sapkal: Potential to explore opportunities in sugar

Suresh Kumar at his cane farm in Tavua. Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapkal has urged the Fijian private sector to further explore the opportunities in the sugar industry. Picture: FILE

Suresh Kumar at his cane farm in Tavua. Picture: FILE

THERE’S a lot of potential in Fiji’s sugar industry and I urge the Fijian private sector to explore opportunities of getting best quality agricultural equipment at very affordable costs from India.

Indian High Commissioner Vishvas Sapkal made the comment after briefly outlining India’s help in Fiji’s sugar industry during the India Business Meeting in Suva last Friday. He also appealed to local businessmen to take advantage of the potentials in this sector.

“India has already provided a line of credit (LOC) of $ US55.82 million ($F113.21m) to the Fijian sugar industry and another $US70m ($F141.96m), as promised by PM Narendra Modi, is in the pipeline,” he said.

Mr Sapkal said India would be providing all possible assistance to the Fijian sugar industry.

“India provided $US1.06m ($F2.15m) in December 2017 for the Fijian sugar industry for procuring five tractors, five trucks and agricultural equipment from India,” Mr Sapkal said.

He said the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) had also procured some mechanical harvesters from India.

Mr Sapkal also referred to current negotiations being done for India’s assistance in improving Fiji’s rail system and said this would also improve on the transportation of cane to the sugar mills.

The High Commissioner also highlighted India’s assistance to Fijian vegetable farmers after the Tropical Cyclone Winston.

“In October 2016, India provided $US1.3m ($F2.64m) worth of vegetable seeds to Fijian farmers whose crops were damaged during Cyclone Winston,” he said.

Mr Sapkal said India would be also happy to provide all possible assistance to Fiji’s agricultural sector.

The Indian High Commissioner’s Business Meeting was attended by local businessmen, government representatives, exporters and stakeholders.

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