21 May 2010

Fiji regime needed to make sugar payments

1:06 pm on 21 May 2010

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Sugar says the interim government had no choice but to intervene to increase sugar farmers' fourth payment.

Cane growers will be paid $6 per tonne, instead of the proposed $2.26, after the Sugar Cane Growers Fund lent money to the Fiji Sugar Corporation for the payment.

The regime will meet the interest component of the loan.

Manasa Vaniqi says that simply had to be done.

"What one must consider is that government has already made a commitment to salvage the industry. The sugar is going to stay. Not because of any other reason but because about 200 thousand people depend on sugar."

Manasa Vaniqi says the government is aiming to increase sugar production to more than three million tonnes by 2014, which would match what was being grown at the industry's peak.