17 May 2017

Sugar bailout is a gimmick says Fiji's NFP

10:00 am on 17 May 2017

Fiji's National Federation Party says the government's aid package for sugar cane growers is nothing but vote-buying and comes too late for growers hurt by Cyclone Winston.

The nearly $US5-million package announced on Monday wipes deductions like rent from the next cane payout and waives the debt on special small loans offered after the devastating storm.

The party's leader Biman Prasad said the farmers have already had nearly three quarters of their income deducted as debt, fertiliser, rent and harvesting expenses in previous payouts for the season.

Professor Prasad said the package was not a long-term solution.

"It is a political gimmick and it is politics of panic because what the farmers have been saying over the last eight or nine years is exactly what this government is now trying to do as a band aid measure," he said.