Thursday, October 01, 2009

Death of Sugar in Fiji and Voreqe Hangs on to Power at Any Cost

“Sugar protocol ends - Mereseini Marau
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THE Fiji Sugar Corporation's shipment last week of 30,385 tonnes will be the last enjoyed under the Sugar Protocol.

Prime Minister's Office sugar economist Viliame Gucake said that FSC would be paid the new price -- 36 per cent less from the current price -- from its fourth shipment until 2015. The preferential price under the ACP/EU Sugar Protocol expires today.

Mr Gucake said the State had hoped that the preferential price that Fiji and other ACP sugar producing countries have enjoyed would be extended.

"But this is something that we have to deal with," he said.

He said since Fiji was the furthest sugar-producing country from the market -- as brokered by UK firm Tate and Lyle -- the shipment would take about three to four weeks to reach there.

Mr Gucake explained that under the new price, a net of $858 would be paid per tonne.

"From the net of $1192 per tonne to $858 from October 1," he said.

He said the FSC had exported a total of 80,043 tonnes of raw sugar in its first three shipments.

Mr Gucake said the company would be receiving $95.4million from the three shipments.

Fiji Cane Growers Association general secretary Bala Dass said there was nothing farmers could do about the new price, in which they would definitely lose out on.

He believed there should be a plan to cushion the loss that would be incurred by the farmers.

"We have to act fast if we wants to save the sugar industry."

National Farmers Union president Sanjeet Maharaj said that while they would not want to see a reduction in sugar price, but they did not have a choice. He said the farmers would just have to cut out on their expenses.

Fiji among other ACP sugar producing countries and the EU have benefitted mutually from the long and fruitful relationship in the sugar sector under the terms of the Sugar Protocol.

This agreement, which was signed in 1975, guarantees access to the EU market for fixed quantities of ACP sugar at preferential prices over an indefinite period of time.

The Sugar Protocol has been hailed the world over as a model for development co-operation, as it has brought significant benefits to the economies of small and vulnerable ACP countries”

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