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EDITORIAL: United Front Needed To Deal With End Of EU Quotas

Fiji has only 29 months before the European Union (EU) sugar quota expires on 1 October 2017. The Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Mr Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday said, “We
30 Apr 2015 12:15
EDITORIAL: United Front Needed To Deal With End Of EU Quotas

Fiji has only 29 months before the European Union (EU) sugar quota expires on 1 October 2017.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Mr Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday said, “We need to make every single month count in our collective effort to ensure not only the survivability of our industry, but to cement a sustained future – more efficiency, more diversification, more attempts to secure new markets, more hard work on the part of everyone.”

The industry is vital to the nation’s economy and to the 200,000 Fijians who depend on sugar for their livelihood.

The EU had done a lot to keep industry operating especially in buying our sugar at a very good price.

Now as the Prime Minister said, “we need a holistic approach to resolving the issues the industry faces in the lead up to 2017.

Past Governments had known that the EU sugar quota would end but failed to take positive actions. They had politicised the industry to their own benefit.

As the Prime Minister said – “They failed to modernise, failed to reinvest. They took it for granted that there would always be buyers for Fijian sugar when the truth is we need to be efficient enough to compete with sugar producers the world over.”

We must thank the Bainimarama Government for its comprehensive reform programme since 2008 that had prevented the industry from collapse. In fact, it had turned the industry around and given it a fighting chance.

The 200,000 Fijians who depend on the industry for their livelihood are benefitting from the reform and should be supported.

They are looking to all stakeholders to give them secure futures.

We strongly support the assurance from the Prime Minister when he said, “We must not let them down. We will not let them down.”

For all sugar critics including politicians, they should be reminded that Government would now address issues on the domestic front that it can control such as the cost of farming and the cost of milling.

There is no time for criticisms, but for positive contribution.

 

Feedback: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 




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