21 Jul 2005

Fiji's sugar industry to present a strategy for survival to the government

11:02 am on 21 July 2005

Members of Fiji's sugar industry hope to present a strategy to the government in a bid to secure financial assistance from the European Union to cope with the ending of preferential pricing.

Fiji Sugar Marketing Company's managing director, John May, says they hope to meet officials from the Prime Minister's Office and several ministeries early next week to discuss what the industry needs to survive the reforms.

The E.U. has announced a package of 48 million US dollars to help African, Carribean and Pacific sugar-producing countries like Fiji cope with the reforms, which include signficant reductions in the price of raw sugar.

Mr May says Fiji has been identified by the E.U. as one of four ACP countries where the sugar industry has the potential to survive, if it becomes more efficient.

"On that basis, they will make available funds for the programmes that we have to discuss with the government and the European Union. It's a total package, it's basically a reform process from government to the European Union with a great deal of industry input."

Mr May says stakeholders must act quickly to ensure the survival of the industry.