THE chairman of the African Caribbean Pacific Ministerial Committee on Sugar said the removal of the sugar quota regime by the European Union was a wake-up call for all ACP sugar-producing countries, including Fiji.
Satya Veyash Faugoo said the EU's decision would also negate the heavy investment by ACP countries and the measures being implemented by the EU in sugar-producing countries to address the reduction in quotas and global price volatility.
"It cannot be business as usual," Mr Faugoo said while speaking at the 13th ACP sugar ministerial meeting at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa.
"Status quo is simply not an option for the ACP.
"We have no choice than to change and adapt to the evolving global sugar environment
"We need to explore all possible options and scenarios to turn these challenges into opportunities."
Prime Minister and Sugar Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said in light of the challenges presented to ACP sugar-producing countries, the livelihoods of people were at stake and solidarity provided the only solution going forward.
"Fiji is proud to contribute to solutions we seek to the many challenges facing an industry on which the livelihoods of so many millions of our people depend," he said.
"It is their interests that must always be at the forefront of our deliberations as we seek to secure their livelihoods through a sustained industry, which includes secure markets.
"We need to expand economic opportunities, boost our national economies and lift the overall living standards of all our peoples.
"That is why it is critical that as ACP leaders we must maintain solidarity and a focus on the future."