FIJI SUGAR INDUSTRY AGREES TO HELP FARMERS

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SUVA, Fiji (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The Fiji sugar industry has agreed to a crop rehabilitation program to assist farmers seriously affected by the prolonged drought.

Sugar Commission Chairman Gerald Barrack said the implementation and timing of the program will be critical, as it is expected that the current dry conditions will continue throughout Fiji for some time.

Barrack said he has informed the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests that sugar crop rehabilitation information will be available for discussion at a May 1 meeting of the Parliament's Select Committee on Sugar.

At that meeting, he said, the sugar industry will present a detailed crop rehabilitation program proposal for the government's consideration.

Barrack said the question of project funding also will be discussed, as will a special Fiji Sugar Corporation survey, which is just being completed.

Preliminary reports indicate the survey has found that a substantial amount of money is needed to assist farmers and the industry during this difficult time.

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