BY REASEARCH TEAM
During the last few months, a series of developments that were taking place pertaining to the Sugar Industry triggered substantial debate and rightly so.
The appointment of the new Chief Executive Officer for Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) Mr. Graham Clark brought a glimmer of hope for the industry after the controversial tenure of his predecessor Mr. Abdul Khan. The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum had reiterated its call for the authorities to investigate Mr. Khan on allegations of misuse of office and gross mismanagement and we are pleased that the Ministry of Sugar is expediting on this issue.
The recent announcement by the FSC Board to permanently close the Penang Mill in Rakiraki will no doubt have an impact on the cane-belt economy of Rakiraki. CCF takes into cognizance the Government’s continued efforts to foot the cartridge costs of the delivery of cane to Rarawai Mill. However, it is essential that the authorities instill confidence and assure cane growers in Ra that their voices are being heard and provisions being made to mitigate the closure of the Â mill.
The expiry of the European Union’s preferential price on sugar this September is another impending challenge that the Government of the day will have to grapple with. With the rejection of a bipartisanship approach proposed by NFP in the last sitting of Parliament, CCF believes that collective voices needed to be taken into account in order to find solutions for this struggling industry. With the Sugar Industry taking an important foothold in the draft National Development Plan, the sustainability andÂ viability of the industry is essential to ensureÂ it effectively serves the needs of its stakeholders.