SHARES IN FIJI SUGAR CORPORATION DROP TO RECORD LOW

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SUVA, Fiji (June 5, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The price of shares in the Fiji Sugar Corporation has dropped to a record low.

The Suva Stock Exchange listed share prices at $US 0.18 today, their lowest value since 1987 when two military coups shook investor confidence.

Stock exchange manager Mesake Nawari says the fall in share value can be attributed to uncertainty over future marketing arrangements for Fiji sugar and land tenure for cane farmers.

The drought now affecting much of Fiji also is a factor, he says.

The drought has cut this year's sugar cane crop by more than half. As a result, up to 80-thousand people will need some form of financial assistance to cope with the downturn.

SUGAR FAILURE LEAVES 80,000 POOR

SUVA, Fiji (June 5, 1998 - Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---About 80,000 people - 10 percent of Fiji's population - would need government aid for up to a year to avert starvation and destitution caused by the country's worst drought on record, government officials said yesterday, the Daily Post reports.

And officials have estimated the drought to cost the sugar industry $F 100 million ($US 49.8 million) in lost export earnings.

The Fiji Sugar Corp., operator of the country's four sugar mills, estimated the drought had cut this year's harvest from the normal level of about four million tons of cane to only 1.7 million tons, with months of more dry weather ahead.

The district officer for Ba province, Tomasi Mucunibutu, said almost all of 43,000 people surveyed in his western Fiji area alone would need some form of state help. He would be recommending food and other assistance.

In some districts small-hold farmers lost their entire sugar crane crop and faced months of destitution, according to a government survey.

Sugar cane is the core of the Fiji economy.

Title -- 1431 ECONOMY: Fiji sugar failure leaves 80,000 poor Date -- 5 June 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Daily Post (Fiji), 5/6/98 Copyright -- Daily Post/Agencies Status – Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific, and Journalism Studies, University of PNG.

Please acknowledge Niuswire: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

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