Fiji Time: 4:44 PM on Tuesday 23 December

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EU access crucial

Jone Kalouniviti
Friday, March 28, 2014

THERE is still time for Fiji to ratify an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union to enable Fiji sugar access to EU markets after 2017, says Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi.

He said the Ministry of Industry and Trade had assured this would be fulfilled before the October 1 deadline.

"But in the meantime, what I have told farmers is that Fiji will keep supplying the EU market until 2017 and the government will continue to look for markets because the sugar industry is here to stay," Lt-Col Vaniqi said.

"I have made known to farmers to make good use of the incentives provided by government to help improve their cane yield and quality.

"For instance, farmers will now get more funding assistance for land preparation and also fertiliser subsidies from the $8.4million grant given to the sugar industry."

He said much of this funding would also go towards capacity building programs for the farmers in all cane belts.

He said government would continue to visit other countries to secure markets for sugar because more than 200,000 people depended on it for their living.