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Fiji Time: 3:00 PM on Friday 18 April

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Raw sugar for export

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, December 21, 2013

THE FSC is preparing to conduct a survey, the results of which can result in raw sugar being exported to Middle East countries.

Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said in light of the looming 2017 deadline marking the end of the preferential access to the EU enjoyed by African Caribbean Pacific sugar-producing countries, every effort was being made to source new markets for Fiji sugar.

"All I can say is that our quota is still with the EU until 2017 but we have to be prepared and explore other markets like the Middle East in the meantime," he said.

"We can't do much until our quota expires but whatever eventuates, we will sell our sugar at the best possible price for our growers, for the industry and for Fiji."

Lt-Col Vaniqi said a full scale feasibility study would be conducted to determine the viability of selling sugar to distant markets, taking into account the high costs associated with shipping and handling.

"We have to carefully examine how feasible it is to sell our sugar to these markets," he said.

The EU announced in June at the 43rd International Sugar Organisation meeting in Nadi its intention to abolish preferential quotas for ACP sugar-producing countries into Europe.

This means that post-2017 ACP countries, including Fiji, will no longer enjoy high prices — US24-28cents per pound — for their sugar.

These countries will be forced to sell sugar at the world market price of US16-17cents per pound.