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We're out of survival mode, says PM

Shayal Devi
Sunday, May 04, 2014

OVER the past two seasons, the reforms we have made to the sugar industry are showing clear signs of producing a remarkable turnaround.

This was the comment made by Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama during the official launch of two new varieties of sugar cane in Ba on Friday.

"We're no longer in survival mode just trying to keep the industry from sliding over the edge but developing a long-term strategy to ensure that sugar cane continues to provide sustainable livelihoods for ordinary Fijians in the industry and maintains its position as our nation's second biggest export earner," he said.

"Sticking to that strategy is crucial because in today's world, the global trading environment for sugar is marked by unstable prices and market fluctuations.

"For a small player like Fiji, this presents serious challenges and uncertainty, especially without preferential access to international markets."

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said those challenges were not insurmountable.

"It just means that we can't be complacent or rely on the old ways of doing things.

"We have to be smarter, more adaptable, constantly on the lookout for opportunities, constantly able to change. And we have to be strategic and plan for the future.

"To this end, we are actively engaged in tough negotiations with the European Union for continuing access for our raw sugar exports.

"On the domestic front, we have ambitious plans for the future to increase production, boost efficiency and diversify the industry.

"We are adopting a holistic approach to reform in the Sugar Industry Decree that the government is currently formulating.

"This is because all aspects of the industry are inter-dependent and there is no point in reforming some and not the others."

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