24 Jul 2003

Fiji cane growers upset by EU statement on sugar prices

10:49 am on 24 July 2003

The chief executive of the Cane Growers Council in Fiji says the nation is shocked by statements made by the EU's agriculture director, Russell Mildon.

Mr Mildon told a meeting of African Caribbean and Pacific sugar ministers in Fiji that preferential prices they currently enjoy are not sustainable and there will inevitably be a reduction.

Mr Mildon's comments come after Australia, Brazil and Thailand challenged the prices at the World Trade Organisation.

Council CEO, Jaganath Sami, says he hopes people will finally realise the industry is in grave danger.

Mr Sami says if the industry collapses there would be nationwide poverty because of the number of people involved.

"All together you're looking at close to 25 per cent of the poulation who live on sugar directly. If sugar is doomed then you will have massive poverty."