Act­ing PM: Our sugar in­dus­try re­mains rel­e­vant

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN LAUTOKA EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL

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.”

Meet­ing

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 in­dus­try

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.”

Photo: OF­FICE OF THE AT­TOR­NEY-GEN­ERAL

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.

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