8 Nov 2005

Fiji signs US$51m deal with India for sugar industry restructure

9:40 am on 8 November 2005

Fiji has signed an agreement for a soft loan of US$51 million from the state-owned Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) to restructure and modernise its ailing sugar industry.

The prime minister and minister for sugar industry reforms, Laisenia Qarase, says the money will be used to upgrade the technology of the sugar mills and improve farm production.

Mr Qarase says the government is fully behind the reforms and has guaranteed the loan which will be used by the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

He says under the reforms, the sugar mills will also produce electricity and ethanol which will be essential for survival when the European union removes its preferential prices.