14 Feb 2015

Fiji's PM says sugar cuts will hit Fiji hard

7:53 am on 14 February 2015

Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, says Fiji will be facing a cut in its export returns from sugar before 2017.

Mr Bainimarama told parliament this week the abolition of the European Union sugar production quota on September 30, 2017, would have adverse implications for Fiji.

But he says the EU sugar prices are already under pressure, with significant falls in the past year.

Mr Bainimarama says the government had given just over 100 million US dollars to the industry in 2010 and 2012 to help it with accumulated losses.

He told parliament of the search for new markets and a shift from relying on raw sugar as a commodity, while it has also been fostering neww plantings, although numbers directly involved in farming cane continue to fall.

In response the NFP leader Biman Prasad says what the industry needs is a long-term plan and he says he is willing to assist the government if it sets up a joint parliamentary committee.

Professor Prasad is also advocating a four year minimum price for farmers.