24 Mar 2003

Fiji sugar industry restructure on hold

4:26 pm on 24 March 2003

Plans to restructure Fiji's sugar industry from the end of this month have suffered a major setback.

The Asian Development Bank has recommended that the restructure be delayed and a further study undertaken.

Fiji TV reports that the ADB has been commissioned to do a study on alternatives for workers and cane farmers displaced by the restructure.

But in a mid-term report, the ADB says the restructure plan is incomplete.

It says the financial and technical projections showing the future viability of the cane farming sector have not been prepared.

The ADB report says by not fully considering the social and financial issues affecting farmers and landowners, there can be no guarantee that the current restructure plans will result in a viable sugar industry in the years to come.

The Sugar Cane Growers Council says the ADB report only confirms the position taken by cane farmers and workers' union.