FIJI NEWS

Kava claim unrealistic, says FCGA

Written By : EMOSI LASAQA. The claim by the Fiji Kava Council that it can be an alternative export commodity to sugar is unrealistic, says Fiji Cane Growers Association chief
01 Jan 2009 12:00

image Written By : EMOSI LASAQA. The claim by the Fiji Kava Council that it can be an alternative export commodity to sugar is unrealistic, says Fiji Cane Growers Association chief executive officer Mohammed Rafiq.
Mr Rafiq yesterday said FKC’s plan is a long term process and it won’t work overnight as a quick fix to the ailing sugar industry.
The European Union lifted the ban on kava export last month and FKC chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo has asked the interim government to lend them $500,000 to kick start the industry. Mr Rafiq said the sugar industry still has lots of potential despite the drop in production.
“Any government of the day should never forget that more than a quarter of Fiji’s population rely on the sugar industry either directly or indirectly.
“Having kava as the alternative export commodity is possible but it will take a lot of time but the sugar industry has been the country’s economic backbone before the tourism boom”
He said the sugar industry requires lot of attention from government in order to remain viable. Mr Rafiq said the economy cannot turn a blind eye on the sugar industry since there have been a lot of money put in place to revive it.
“About 86 million was borrowed from the Indian government to develop all the sugar mills and it will be a waste of money if the sugar industry is overlooked because of no sign of improvement in the recent years.
“Lots of people shed tears and blood for the sugar industry in the past and it has its own place in the country’s history. It can bounce back if the industry is geared towards the right direction,” he added.




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