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Sugar pay day

Maciu Malo
Saturday, May 18, 2013

APPROXIMATELY $31million will be paid out to about 13,000 cane growers in the fourth cane payment next week.

Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty said the payout was the biggest ever made to growers.

"Growers will share close to $32m in cane payment and this is a huge milestone for the industry," Mr Chetty said.

"The council thanked the government and the Fiji Sugar Corporation for this achievement which will encourage farmers to invest in the industry."

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the reforms in the sugar industry had paid off.

According to figures released by the Fiji Sugar Corporation, after a fourth payment to sugar cane farmers of $20.40 per tonne of raw sugar, the total paid out so far for the 2012 season will be a record-breaking $78.74 per tonne.

Commodore Bainimarama said there was one final clean-up payment yet to be made that would bring the year's total to at least $80.74 per tonne, if not more.

He said this was a huge achievement for Fiji and was a sign that his government's reforms of the sugar cane industry were paying off.

"This is what you can achieve when you depoliticise the sugar cane industry," he said.

"With politics out, we will be able to focus all of our energy and resources at achieving better results for farmers and other stakeholders."

Commodore Bainimarama said the forecast price for raw sugar in 2013 was $62.58 per tonne, but that FSC officials were confident the likely payment would be more than $73 per tonne.

"Considering the significant reduction in the worldwide price of raw sugar, this is a major achievement.

"At this level, the sugar cane industry becomes extremely viable and able to healthily support industry stakeholders as well as attract more Fijians to the industry," he said.

More than two years ago, the payout was $49.16 per tonne of raw sugar.

In 2011, this increased to $65.67 and the price is now at about $80 per tonne.

"Although the price of raw sugar on the international market is volatile, with a record payment this year and a high price secured for next year, we are beginning to see stability and growth re-enter the Fijian sugar cane industry.

"We will continue to carry out our reforms to increase efficiency and productivity in the industry, and we will remain committed to ensuring that all stakeholders, especially our farmers, benefit from these reforms.

"As we continue to modernise and adapt the industry and reduce unnecessary costs, we will be able to pass on more and more savings to industry stakeholders."





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