6 Dec 2005

Fiji government to determine national adaptation strategy of sugar

3:39 pm on 6 December 2005

The European Union says it is up to the Fiji government to determine what it believes are the priorities for EU assistance in developing a national strategy of sugar.

The EU is phasing out a system of preferential pricing for imported sugar from Fiji and 17 other sugar protocol countries from September next year.

But, it is providing some funding to adjust to the different market conditions.

The trade counsellor at the European Commission delegation for the Pacific, Myfanwy Vandevelde, says the EU has put aside nearly 47 million U.S. dollars for the 18 countries.

And, she says it's likely that Fiji will get about 4.7 million dollars next year.

Mrs Vandevelde says it's up to the government to decide what its strategy is but they see three broad areas which need assistance.

"The first would be to the sugar industry itself in terms of competitivity. The second would probably be into other income generating areas, probably agriculture, simply by virtue of the sorts of people who will be coming out of the sugar sector. They will be farmers. The third would be social impact mitigation measures."

Mrs Vandevelde says there will be an initial five percent cut in prices next year, which will then remain steady until the end of 2008 but by 2010, thee will be a total reduction of 36 percent.