SUNBIZ

Countries Line Up to Buy Our Sugar

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has confirmed that they have six new buyers for the country’s sugar with the preferential markets agreements in the United Kingdom coming to the end later,
13 Jun 2017 09:53
Countries Line Up to Buy Our Sugar
Some of the stakeholders in the sugar industry at the information workshop at the Tanoa Waterfront in Lautoka. Photo: Charles Chambers.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has confirmed that they have six new buyers for the country’s sugar with the preferential markets agreements in the United Kingdom coming to the end later, this year.

FSC chairman Vishnu Mohan said the new markets are mainly in Asia where there a high demand for sugar.

“We have come to rely on one buyer, Tate and Lyle and we cannot go on like this,” he said.

“We need to diversify our portfolio of buying.”

“Today, we have half a dozen potential buyers in Asia including China, Korea and Japan.”

FSC CEO Graham Clark also mentioned during the workshop held at the Tanoa Waterfront yesterday that Fiji’s sugar was world class and was known throughout many countries.

“Even people in New Zealand and Australia are wanting to buy Fiji sugar,” Mr Clark said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mohan said he wanted FSC to one day stand on its own, pay its own debts and have   enough finance to sustain its own.

“Unfortunately, FSC has had to rely on government funds in the past and we cannot continue to operate in that way.”

Mr Mohan said one way in achieving that was to increase cane production.

“It’s going back to basics. We want towards a goal where we have four to five million tonnes of sugarcane production per annum.”

“This cannot happen overnight, but it can happen within three to five years where we hope to have 500,000 tonnes of raw sugar produced every year.”

“The question is what we are going to do to make that possible.”

Mr Mohan said farmers were now being updated on new strategies of FSC and what it meant for them and for the country.

“Sugar comprises of an important part in country.”

Mr Mohan said since 1994, there has been a steep downwards spiral in the sugarcane industry but, that has started climb again in recent years.

“We need to go back in time where sugar was the main contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Mr Mohan said government had given over $400 million to the sugar industry and 60 per cent of the money has gone to farmers.

“We need to double the output.”

“Help has been coming in some form or another but we need to convert that help into material benefit.”

Mr Mohan said a lot of assistance needed to be given to the farmers so that sugar becomes a “next generation business “.

He said before, 80 per cent of the sugarcane transported to the mills was done by rail but now it was down to 20 per cent. There are plans in place to change that to 60 per cent by rail and 40 per cent by lorries.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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