FIJI FARMERS UNION WARNS AGAINST SUGAR RESTRUCTURE

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SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Jan. 12) - The National Farmers Union will take firm action if the proposed restructure of the sugar industry is forced on farmers.

Talks on the restructure have been underway since last year with many stating that the plans were crucial for the industry’s survival.

However, according NFU General Secretary Mahendra Chaudhry, the restructure would be vigorously opposed if the farmers were not for it.

"We do not find the restructure plans in the best interest of the farmers, as they and other workers involved in the industry would lose their jobs once the restructure is given the nod. 

"If the farmers are not prepared for the restructure or against it then we will not let the restructure go ahead.

"The union would oppose the plans vigorously, since the proposed plans are not going to do any good to the farmers if the price of cane would be brought down," Mr Chaudhry told the FijiSUN yesterday.

The Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, had said earlier that he would await the report of a technical team, who were supposed to be in the country three weeks ago to discuss their report at Parliament level, to try and achieve consensus.

However, Mr Chaudhry added that if the farmers were not satisfied the NFU would oppose the restructure stating that plans should be made to fix the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

"We all know that the problem lies with the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Prime Minister should look for alternative ways to better the FSC instead.

"The FSC should get a fix rather than everyone else getting the blow from this restructure which, at the moment, has not even taken any shape.

"So far the PM has not put down any specific proposals as far as restructure of the sugar industry is concerned.

"As far as the team that was to analyse Fiji"s sugar industry, well their arrival is long overdue and nothing has been heard on that so far," he said.

January 12, 2004

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

 

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