CAPTION: EU Head of Delegation HE Andrew Jacobs. Photo: SUPPLIED.
The EU Head of Delegation has acknowledged the persistent efforts of FRIEND for community development despite the organisation’s own substantial loss in December.
Speaking at the Inaugural Farmer Conference at the Girmit Centre this week MR ANDREW JACOBS said that the end of EU Sugar regime will inevitably induce more market volatility and therefore more risks for the farmers in the next few years. “The EU is very aware of this situation and is providing some assistance in the framework of its programme the Accompanying Measures for the Sugar Protocol, whereby assistance is provided to the farmers and their families in order to cushion the impacts of the EU reform.” He said that the EU strategy reinforces the view that the sugar sector is still a fundamental sector in Fiji’s economy and while it may be reduced in size, it will hopefully continue to act as a core of social stability throughout the sugarcane region if it is successfully restructured.
The FRIEND organised GROW conference saw a gathering of around 550 farmers and project holders from sugar belt areas in Viti Levu attend the one day event.
“I must commend FRIEND for the very good achievements so far. Despite very adverse weather conditions that we all know, with the 2012 two successive floods and Cyclone EVAN, and the very severe damage caused to its buildings, FRIEND has managed to keep on track with the targets and timelines of the GROW programme. We are mindful that this is the result of very hard work and personal dedication to the farmers’ community.”
The EU funded GROW program at FRIEND promotes activities of Cash Crop Farming, Poultry, Food Processing, Beekeeping and Youth Employment Network in efforts to sustain and improve livelihoods of those affected by the decline of incomes.