9 May 2003

Harvest boycott looming in Fiji sugar industry

10:30 am on 9 May 2003

A harvest boycott is looming in Fiji's already ailing sugar industry.

At issue is a decision by the technically bankrupt Fiji Sugar Corporation to accept only 2.8 million tonnes of cane for crushing this season or about 68 percent of the crop on the ground.

Cane farmers' union are advising them not to sign the farm quota agreement being given out by the Corporation.

The chief executive of the Sugar Cane Growers Council, Jaganath Sami, says the council will not hesitate to call for a harvest boycott if a fair and just decision is not reached.

The general secretary of the National Farmers Union, Mahendra Chaudhry, says 600-thousand tonnes of cane will be left on the ground and losses of 16-million US dollars incurred by the farmers if the corporation does not crush all the cane.

The annual sugar cane harvest is due to begin next month.