2 Apr 2010

Continued EU sanctions against Fiji a blow to sugar industry, says academic

2:39 pm on 2 April 2010

A Fiji economist says the continuation of sanctions by the European Union is a serious blow to the country's sugar industry.

The EU has announced it will extend its sanctions on Fiji by six months to put pressure on the military-led regime to return to democracy and respect human rights.

Between 2006 and this year Fiji's sugar industry would have received 86 million US dollars worth of aid.

But all the funding has now expired, except for the 38 million US dollars available for 2010.

Professor Biman Prasad from the University of the South Pacific says the continued withholding of the aid will have a drastic impact.

"Before the 2006 coup the European Union fund was going to be a major injection into the industry which would have supported not only the efficiency within the industry but would have rehabilitated and supported production and efficiency at the farm level."

Professor Prasad said the aid would have helped make the sugar industry more competitive and it will be difficult for the government to match it.