SUNBIZ

‘Do not alter Sugar Tribunal’

  Farmers in Sigatoka have proposed to the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs for The Sugar Industrial Tribunal not to be altered  but to remain independent. This issue was highlighted
03 May 2017 11:00
‘Do not alter Sugar Tribunal’
Farmers during the Sugar Bill consultation in Sigatoka on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Photo: LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI

 

Farmers in Sigatoka have proposed to the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs for The Sugar Industrial Tribunal not to be altered  but to remain independent.

This issue was highlighted by majority of the farmers during the public consultation on Sugar Bills 19 Reform of Sugarcane Industry Bill 2016 and Bill 20 — a bill for an act to amend the Sugarcane Growers Fund Act (cap.207) at the Tuva Primary school yesterday.

Farmer Krishna Murti Goundar of Lomawai sector recommended the sugar tribunal to remain an independent body.

“We want the sugar tribunal to remain as it always was, and totally independent and nothing to with Fiji Sugar Corporations or the ministry.”

Member of Parliament Lorna Eden said: “We have noted you request and we note that you want it to be just independent which is what we believe is happening.”

Tuva farmer, Vikram Chand said: “As a farmer I am not sure who is a tribunal at the moment, if we are trying to make this Industry more efficient than I am with it.”

Farmers also raised concerns on the number of people elected to the Sugar Cane Growers Council.

Mr Goundar said he wanted representatives from each districts elected by the farmers to be part of the council.

“Before there were 38 councils, it should be like that, only if government wants than. Like before the councils were elected by farmers from one sector, one representative.”

Another farmer Ashwin Kumar also of Lomawai sector said Fairtrade should not be involved in the council, while Jahur Khan proposed the mill area committee be scraped completely from the new Act.

He also proposed for the councils to inform growers about changes in the sugar industry master awards.

“Fairtrade now are making the business before it was good, it was the farmers, we are getting nothing.

“They are getting the wages and vehicles are free, we are only getting only in cents now, before it was good when it got started, but now we are getting less money,” Mr Khan said.

Ms Eden said their proposals would be tabled as a report in Parliament.

The Standing Committee on Economic Affairs included Ms Eden, who is the chair Assistant Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Vijay Nath  the deputy chair (Assistant Minister for Infrastructure), Prem Singh – Opposition member, Dr Brij Lal – Government Member and Viliame Gavoka – Opposition Member.

Edited by: Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: litia.tikomailepanoni@fijisun.com.fj



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