PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has assured other sugar-growing nations Fiji's sugar industry will bounce back from the damage caused by recent flooding.
The assurance could not have come at a better time for it was done as the International Sugar Organisation council concluded the world sugar economy had a global surplus.
Tentative projections suggest the world sugar balance will remain in surplus in 2012-2013.
Commodore Bainimarama believes the assistance of Fiji's international partners and the will of the people will determine much in terms of developing the sugar industry.
"We are confident that with concerted efforts of all concerned and support of all our international partners and the resilience of our people, we will make up for the unforeseen setback and forge ahead with the implementation of necessary reforms to ensure the sustainability of the sugar industry as well as the overall economic development of the country," Commodore Bainimarama said.
Briefing the ISO council last week, Commodore Bainimarama said the government and the industry stakeholders had made steady progress with respect to the reform and rehabilitation program to revive the industry.
"Steady progress has been made in terms of the implementation of the various initiatives in the sugar sector," he said.
He also shared with them the impact of the recent flooding in Fiji.
"The country encountered unprecedented severe weather conditions at the beginning of this year," he said. In addition to the loss of human lives, properties and personal effects, Commodore Bainimarama said considerable damage was also caused to the infrastructure, cane crop, and one of the sugar factories.
In March, he said another period of incessant and heavy rain was experienced over a more widespread area, including areas affected by the January flood.
"This resulted in further widespread destruction of infrastructure, including cane crops and other agricultural crop in general and properties," said Commodore Bainimarama.
"In the sugar sector, our assessment indicate total damage of about $20million dollars."
As an immediate step and to ensure the farmers have every opportunity to quickly replant crops and are not tied down by financial burdens, Commodore Bainimarama also updated the council on the assistance scheme for cane farmers affected by the flood.