Sugar to turn sweeter in Fiji, says Reserve bank
Sugar, the backbone of Fiji’s agriculture economy, is expected to increase its output according to the Reserve Bank of Fiji. The bank picks the sector to grow after a number of years of stagnation and even negative growth.<!--more-->
The industry has languished over the past several years, owing to a slew of factors ranging from poor investment in modernisation of the nearly century-old sector to problems relating to land leases and decreasing availability of farm hands.
Earlier this year, the Fijian government granted the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) a $5.6million loan to help meet the shortfall in the cane forecast price for the 2010 crushing season, which was $3.13 per tonne, amounting to $5.6million.
The Indian government helped out some years ago with a F$93 million modernisation programme that is seeing replacement of the old industrial apparatus with newer machinery at the country’s Lautoka sugar mill in the main island Viti Levu’s western region.
Fiji has also embarked on a reform programme of the sugar sector, which is the largest single employer in the country. The financial reform will include better ways to arrive at cane price forecasting in a bid to avoid handouts to the sector from the government.