THE European Union has so far committed $67million to Fiji's sugar cane industry.
This was revealed by the EU's deputy head of delegation, Johny Engell-Hansen, at the unveiling of a new FREIND production facility in Lautoka.
"An additional $69million will become available by the end of this year," Mr Engell-Hansen said.
"This new assistance should help poor farmers replant 3500 hectares of sugar cane and to increase yields from 40 tonnes per hectare to 60 tonnes per hectare. EU assistance has also been used to enhance the capacities of the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji.
"It should then enable the institute to supply farmers with two new varieties of sugar cane each year and to provide selected and certified seed cane material to replant 4000 hectares each year."
Apart from providing support to the local sugar industry, this EU program also provides support to farmers by offering them new, improved seeds and seedlings for complementary crops.
"Furthermore, the EU assistance also targets the livestock sector since many sugarcane farmers are involved in animal husbandry on their farms.
"This new program aims at increasing overall pork production by 30 per cent and sheep and goat production by 40 per cent in the sugarcane belt."