$62.3m for sugar

GOVERNMENT has allocated $62.3 million towards the sugar industry and has also established a stabilisation fund that will guarantee an $85 per tonne cane payment for the next three years.

This was announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the 2018-2019 National Budget address in Parliament last night.

“Sugarcane replanting, the fertiliser subsidy, weedicide subsidy, farm mechanisation, the subsidy of cane cartage, the rehabilitation for cane access roads, the incentives for new farmers to grow cane, cane top up payments by Government — that is all going to continue,” he said.

“What’s new in this budget is we will be setting up a new cane stabilisation price, funded in partnership with the Fiji Sugar Corporation, of $85 per tonne for all cane payments for the next three years.

“We have already maintained cane payments of $82 for the past three years, but now we are going to be able to bring a solid level of stabilisation.”

The A-G said the incentives were possible because of Government’s effort to reduce the cost base for farmers and mechanise this industry.

“That agenda has allowed the FSC to sell off under-utilised assets and this stabilised price will be funded by a Sugar Stabilisation Fund within the FSC bringing canefarmers a level of security, certainty and confidence over the long term.”

Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty said the continued support and price stabilisation fund would bring a huge boost to the industry.

“The SCGC welcomes the announcement of stabilisation of cane price at $85 for next three years and also thanks Government for continuation of subsidies for fertiliser, weedicide, cane planting grant, maintenance of cane access roads and other support,” he said.

“With this continued assistance, growers’ confidence to invest more in their farms will increase and there should not be any reason why cane production should not increase.”

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