CAPTION: Prime Minister Bainimarama. Photo: JOSEPHINE NAVULA.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced from France today a banner year for Fiji’s sugar cane industry.
According to figures released by the Fiji Sugar Corporation, after a 4th payment to sugar cane farmers of $20.40 per tonne of raw sugar, the total paid out so far for the 2012 season will be a record-breaking $78.74 per tonne.
The Prime Minister added that there was one final clean-up payment yet to be made that would bring the year’s total to at least $80.74 per tonne, if not more.
The Prime Minister said that this was a huge achievement for Fiji, and was a sign that his Government’s reforms of the sugar cane industry were paying off.
“This is what you can achieve when you depoliticise the sugar cane industry,” he said. “With politics out, we will be able to focus all of our energy and resources at achieving better results for farmers and other stakeholders.”
The Prime Minister also announced that the forecast price for raw sugar in 2013 was $62.58 per tonne, but that FSC officials were confident the likely payment would be more than $73 per tonne.
“Considering the significant reduction in the world wide price of raw sugar, this is a major achievement. At this level, the sugar cane industry becomes extremely viable and able to healthily support industry stakeholders as well as attract more Fijians to the industry,” he said.
Two-and-a-half years ago, the payout was $49.16 per tonne of raw sugar.
In 2011, this increased to $65.67 and the price is now sitting around $80 per tonne.
“Although the price of raw sugar on the international market is volatile, with a record payment this year and a high price secured for next year, we are beginning to see stability and growth re-enter the Fijian sugar cane industry,” he said.
“We will continue to carry out our reforms to increase efficiency and productivity in the industry, and we will remain committed to ensuring that all stakeholders, especially our farmers, benefit from these reforms,” he added. “As we continue to modernise and adapt the industry and reduce unnecessary costs, we will be able to pass on more and more savings to industry stakeholders.”