22 Sep 2005

The European Union told it is obliged to help rescue the ailing Fiji sugar industry

7:01 pm on 22 September 2005

There's a call for the European Union to help restore the efficiency and profitability of Fiji's sugar industry.

The struggling industry, which faces the end of trade preferences into Europe in 2008, is due have the higher rates is it paid by the EU slashed from next year.

This will come as the EU reduces the price supports paid to its local sugar beet farmers.

Oxfam says the sugar producing nations in the ACP have been dependent on Europe for generations and the EU is obliged to help them through the transition.

In a report issued in Suva on Thursday Oxfam's Shuna Lennon says the EU could help Fiji invest in sustainable technology and it should pay for a rescue plan designed by sugar industry experts from India.

"And that is basically efficiencies for the standard sugar producing industry in Fiji and the bill for that of approximately 86 million Fijian. And on top of that there are also these possibilities for transforming the industry through the new technologies the report examines."