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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 20, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---Sugar cane farmers can breathe a sigh of relief after a deal was signed with a Fiji Sugar Corporation agent in Japan for an extra 40,000 tons of brown sugar.

The deal was confirmed by Ratu Tui Cavuilati, Fiji's ambassador in Tokyo.

A high-powered team of FSC Officials was in Tokyo last week to negotiate the deal.

The team included Fiji Sugar Commission Chairman Gerald Barrack; FSC General Manager Jonetani Galuinadi; Marketing Manager John May; and Grish Maharaj, who represented the growers council.

Ratu Tui said this is a major breakthrough for Fiji Sugar. He said he’s optimistic that there will be more such deals later in the year for other Fiji products in Japan.

From the 40,000 tons of brown sugar 20,000 will be exported to South Korea.

"South Korea is another market for Fiji, but it needs to be tapped," said Ratu Tui.

Fiji Sugars contract with its partners in Japan has been in existence for the past 35 years.

Fiji's annual sugar export amounts to 50 percent sold under the special preferential price enjoyed by the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) countries provided in the Lomé Convention. Sugar to Japan is sold at world market price.

Meanwhile, FSC will introduce sweeping changes to its training program and personnel systems.

FSC Chairman Hafiz Khan says the corporation must function as a modern commercial organization in a competitive marketplace.

"There is no choice about this. It is a matter of survival. This means we need the appropriate skills, the right working environment, and good career opportunities," he said.

Consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers has completed a training and personnel review with recommendations to be considered by the FSC management and board.

"The goal is to improve the FSC's operational performances, productivity and efficiency," Khan said.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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