Fiji cane farmers get record payout


According to figures released by the Fiji Sugar Corporation, the country’s sugarcane farmers would have received a total pay out of F$78.74 per tonne so far for the 2012 season. One more final payment that is yet to be made would bring the total to at least F$80.74 a tonne – a record for Fiji’s sugar industry.  <!--more-->

Income from raw sugar has risen impressively for Fiji’s farmers in recent years. Two-and-a-half years ago, the payout was F$49.16 per tonne of raw sugar. In 2011, this increased to $65.67 a tonne. The forecast price for raw sugar in 2013 has been estimated at F$62.58 a tonne but is expected to rise more than F$73 a tonne, according to industry officials.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has said, “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.”

“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 added.

Earlier this month, the European Union said it would commit F$69million to improve the sugar industry this year. This additional funding is aimed at addressing land erosion, rehabilitation of sugar cane access roads and assistance to research and extension services through farmers' associations.

The Fijian government sources said they believed this level of assistance would rise after the elections scheduled to be held next year. After more than a decade of research, the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji announced last month that two new varieties of cane would be introduced this year.