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Fiji Time: 3:06 AM on Tuesday 22 April

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Growers hopeful

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, February 16, 2013

THE Fiji Sugar Corporation says it is optimistic that actual cane price for the 2012 season will be about $70 per tonne.

The optimism will reassure growers who are concerned about the low cane price in recent years.

During the sugar industry stakeholders consultations in Sigatoka this week, many farmers said while they were encouraged by the reforms to revitalise the industry, low cane prices in recent years forced them to seek subsidies and assistance from government.

"Obviously, everyone in the industry was working towards achieving this. The integrated approach adopted by stakeholders combined with the government's reforms is working, as evident with the improvement in mill performance and the return of many absentee growers to cane farming," acting chief executive officer of the Sugar Cane Growers Council, Sundresh Chetty said.

"However, farmers have said that if the cane price moves to between $80 to 100 per tonne, then they would not have to ask for subsidies," Mr Chetty said.

Responding to queries from this newspaper, FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan reiterated that the actual cane price for the 2012 season was expected to go above $70 per tonne, significantly higher than the $53.55 per tonne forecast price announced in May last year.

"I am still optimistic that we will improve the cane price beyond $70 per tonne," Mr Khan said.