The Government has kept its promise to maintain the incomes of the nation’s sugarcane farmers, announcing a 4th cane payment of $15 per tonne.
The FSC will pay farmers a premium of nearly $8 per tonne on the 4th cane payment – taking it to $15 – instead of the $7.20 per tonne they would have received under the superseded Master Award.
Last week, Parliament approved an extension of the $150 million Government Guarantee to the Fiji Sugar Corporation to enable the payment to be made. The Opposition opposed the giving of the guarantee by Government.
In announcing the $15 per tonne figure, the Acting Minister for Sugar and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said sugarcane farmers were enjoying a sustained period of record payments.
“We are able to do this only because of the tremendous performance of the Fiji Sugar Corporation under its present management and especially its Executive Chairman, Abdul Khan. We have taken politics out of the industry and given the FSC the guidance and support it needs to properly manage the industry”, he said.
The Acting Minister for Sugar said the Government’s approach was in stark contrast to the attempts by the Opposition to use the sugarcane industry as a political football for its own ends without taking into account the real needs of farmers.
“We have Opposition figures like the NFP Leader, Biman Prasad, hell-bent on politicising the industry again and trying to impose structures that are irrelevant to the needs of farmers, who can see for themselves very clearly who best serves their interests. Instead of the grandstanding by the Opposition, the FijiFirst Government is delivering real outcomes for farmers and their families”, he said.
The Acting Minister added that the $15 per tonne payment proved not only the Government’s commitment to the sugarcane industry but to the welfare and prosperity of individual farmers.
The payment will be made on Thursday.