NEWS

PM: Sugar Plan For New Times

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji is not waiting to be swamped by future adverse events in the sugar industry. Addressing the 46th International Sugar Organisation conference in London, he
30 Nov 2014 14:00
PM: Sugar Plan For New Times

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji is not waiting to be swamped by future adverse events in the sugar industry.

Addressing the 46th International Sugar Organisation conference in London, he said: “Our industry is vigorously fast-tracking other initiatives to diversify and expand its revenue streams.

“We are moving away from our reliance on one commodity – raw sugar – because we know this is no longer viable. We need to be smarter, to add value to our crop, to exploit new revenue opportunities and open up new markets.”

He said the abolition of EU sugar production quotas post September 30, 2017 and the consequent adverse implications on sugar prices “pose a very big challenge indeed”.

“Moreover, EU sugar prices have already come under pressure, with significant falls compared to prevailing prices over a year ago,” he said.

“So suppliers like Fiji are having to prepare for a reduction in our export revenues even before 2017 – a sobering prospect for any developing nation.”

He said these were the challenges that remained despite the progress brought about by the reforms.

“The reform program hasn’t been easy. Indeed it has sometimes severely tested us. But I’m also pleased to report to you all today that through determination, innovation and a lot of hard work, those who work with me on the front line keeping this vital part of our economy turning have succeeded.

“We have kept the faith with the 200,000 Fijians who looked to us to turn back the tide of neglect by successive previous Governments. We have provided them with new hope for the future with record prices last year for their crops. And we have acted to safeguard a vital part of our national economy on which the fortunes of every Fijian ultimately depends.

Notwithstanding this, many challenges remain.”

He said the new diversification initiatives included the establishment of bagasse-based electricity cogeneration at the Rarawai and Labasa Sugar mills; the establishment of a sugar refinery in Labasa to meet domestic and regional demand for refined sugar of between 18-25,000 metric tonnes; and the establishment of an ethanol plant at the Rarawai Mill, primarily to serve the domestic market.

“All these initiatives are national priorities that we intend to begin coming on stream from the second half of 2015. It’s all about being smarter, more adaptable and embracing technology rather than simply standing by and being swamped by events.”

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Advertise with fijisun
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: