SUGAR INDUSTRY REFORMS
Critical reforms are being pursued across various facets of the Sugar Industry. These reforms encompass institutional arrangements, cane production, harvesting and transport systems, as well as milling operations. The Sugar Taskforce Team is collaborating closely with the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) and other stakeholders on the implementation of the sugar industry reform plan. The main focus of the plan is to turn the industry around into a viable and vibrant commercial entity.
Over the period 2010 to 2012, Government took proactive steps to salvage the Fiji Sugar Corporation from financial collapse and undertook urgent reform measures to restructure key segments of the industry. This intervention has resulted in a positive turnaround in FSC’s financial performance this year and stabilized the overall sugar sector.
The focus for the sugar sector over the medium term is clearly prescribed under the Sugar Cane Industry Action Plan 2013-2022. This Plan was devised by industry stakeholders with the support of sugar reform experts. The Plan provides an action-oriented framework to help revitalize and sustain the industry over the next 10 years, focusing mainly on the following 6 core areas:
(i) Crop production and grower advisory services
(ii) Harvesting and transport
(iii) Milling and processing
(iv) Cane quality
(v) Revenue generation
(vi) Industry re-structuring and legislation
The performance of the industry is expected to improve with anticipated increases in both sugar output and exports. This growth is critical to further support FSC’s financial performance and ensure the industry is well placed to embrace the anticipated withdrawal of EU preferential prices in 2017.
In 2014, Government has provided a budget of $8.4 million for the sugar development program. This will be utilized to assist farmers in cane replanting and improving production levels.