Acting PM: Our sugar industry remains relevant
Sugar industry remains relevant to Fiji and there is ability to sustain the industry, says the Attorney General and acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. In saying that, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum implied that Fiji could actually do better in sugarcane farming and people were still largely dependent on the industry.
“I do not think it is right to take a dichotomous approach, we can do sugarcane farming and it is still relevant to Fiji,” he stressed.
“There are still tens of thousands of people in Fiji who are still dependent on sugarcane.”
He said there was still a lot of potential in sugarcane industry and one needed to view the industry as one through which there could be production of multiple products and not only sugar.
“We need to view the sugarcane industry as something more than just simply doing one thing with it,” he said.
“Having one product there are multiplicity of products that can come around with sugarcane.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday co-chaired a meeting with Programme Steering Committee of the European Union on Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) Programme, at the Ministry of Sugar Boardroom in Lautoka. After a thorough meeting with the programme implementing agencies, Mr SayedKhaiyum said it was a good opportunity for government to see how these agencies were performing and the areas that could be improved. The implementation agencies under AMSP included South Pacific Commission (SPC), International Trade Centre (ITC) and APTCAustralian Organisation. “Also from Government’s perspective, we were able to provide some insight in respect of how we can probably provide assistance to these agencies to help better coordinate and get an expeditious outcome,” he said. He added it was interesting to see how the agencies were performing and programme of theirs had an end date. The meeting not only looked into the matters of sugar industry alone but also at diverse agricultural programmes and how each could aid in being a source of income for the people.
“It’s not only sugarcane per se or increasing the sugarcane production that is one of the goals, but also in terms of other forms of livelihood that could supplement sugarcane industry,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
The EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Andrew Jacobs said some of the projects implemented in Fiji through the agencies were performing well and some were performing less well.
“This was a great opportunity really to define where more work needs to be put in, where more work needs to be done,” Mr Jacobs said. “We were able to discuss with our implementing partners where we needed to discuss their efforts. “This is because as everybody knows in October 2017 the European Union market is going to become much more price competitive.
“There’s a lot to be done in order to help increase competitiveness of the Fiji Sugar Corporation during this remaining period.”
Attorney-General and acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (left), yesterday co-chaired a meeting with Programme Steering Committee of the European Union on Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) Programme, at the Ministry of Sugar Boardroom in Lautoka. With him is the EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Andrew Jacobs.