8 Jun 2012

Fiji farmers demand action over ailing sugar industry

1:37 pm on 8 June 2012

The National Farmers Union in Fiji has put 14 demands to the interim prime minister and sugar minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, which it wants to have met to restore confidence in the sugar industry.

Among the demands are a minimum cane price of 43 US dollars a tonne.

In a letter published by the Labour Party, the union says unless these grievances are addressed, disillusioned farmers will continue to abandon their farms and opt for alternative livelihoods.

It says growers have expressed strong discontent at the manner in which the sugar industry is being run, and anger that they have been forced to sustain heavy financial losses as a result of the ineptitude of FSC and milling inefficiencies in the past three years.

The union says Commodore Bainimarama as the sugar minister must accept full responsibility for the rapidly declining state of the industry since 2009.

Commodore Bainimarama is out of the country, attending the 14th China Zhejiang Investment and Trade Symposium.