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A-G: Not Enough Volume for Sugar Refining

A-G: Not Enough Volume for Sugar Refining
Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (middle, back row), with the people from various parts of the Northern Division at the 2016 National Budget Public Consultations at Labasa Civic Centre in Labasa on Saturday. Photo: Shratika Naidu
August 31
10:04 2015

The Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has stressed to farmers that a sugar refining company in Labasa would not be a viable option due to our sugar volume.

This followed suggestion from a Labasa cane farmer on Saturday for Government to consider constructing a sugar refining company in Labasa.

Isireli Ralulu, 64, of Soasoa, Labasa made this suggestion during the 2016 National Budget Public Consultations at Labasa Civic Centre.

Mr Ralulu said they believed there is enough sugar in our country so we should produce white sugar like other countries for the benefit of consumers.

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out that having a refining company would be an expensive exercise.

“Firstly we need a huge amount of brown sugar to be refined which we do not have now,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Countries like Malaysia, which I visited 18 months ago or so, have about like eight to nine storey building high of sugar. You need a large volume of brown sugar to refine it to white sugar.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said most importantly, the basics need to be set right.

This, he said, means there should be more farmers to work in the cane field, more loads of cane, FSC needs to function well without any break downs and well-established infrastructure.

He said once basics were right, then they can do something about producing white sugar.

“We still continue to export sugar to the European Union and try to meet the contract demand,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Sometimes we import sugar to meet the local demand and this is a problem.

“This is the reason it is difficult for us to refine sugar in Fiji because we do not have the volume,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) has not grown in that perspective.”

He said not only consumers want white sugar but even biscuit companies need it to make white biscuits.

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

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