17th December 06:02 AM
Fiji looking for new markets for Sugar - PM tells leaders in UK
By Dhanjay Deo
Sunday 03/12/2017
Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Voreqe Bainimarama (middle) at the 52nd Session of the International Sugar Organisation in the UK

Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji has been actively seeking alternative markets for sugar in response to the removal of the European Unions domestic production quotas.

While speaking at the 52nd Session of the International Sugar Organisation in the UK, Bainimarama stated that he personally met with a number of buyers who have reiterated their commitment to Fijian sugar, and they will continue to seek new markets for the high-quality brand of sugar that Fiji is known for around the world.

He says they are deeply grateful for the support from the EU in modernising and adapting Fiji’s cane industry.

Bainimarama says they expect to raise sugarcane production to around 3.9 million tonnes over the next five years to more closely match the crushing capacity of Fiji’s sugar mills.

Bainimarama says the world has already looked to Fiji as champions on climate change and again, they want to emerge as a global leader, a leader in the sugar industry, as a nation that puts the cane farmers at the forefront of bold and innovative climate adaptation strategies.

He says this means greater investment in farm drainage infrastructure and irrigation to better control water run-off and saltwater intrusion, and as part of this commitment they have formed a new Ministry of Waterways dedicated to improving water infrastructure across Fiji, which he personally oversees.

Bainimarama then told his counterparts that Fiji has experienced another serious stretch of drought conditions, beginning in April this year and continuing through the harvesting season to early November.

He says there is a delay in planting ahead of the 2018 season and this is expected to have some effect on production.

Bainimarama has stated that as of 19th November this year, over the course of 25 weeks, Fiji’s three sugar mills crushed 1.61 million metric tonnes of cane, yielding 178.9 metric tonnes of sugar.

Compared to last year, these estimates mark a 19% increase in cane production, a 30% increase in sugar production.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has also revealed that this year, they also saw a big jump in mill efficiency in the crushing season, with an overall breakdown reduction of 21% compared to last year.

The Rarawai Mill ended the season with the greatest reduction in breakdowns, down 37 from the previous year.

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