FIJI SUGAR INDUSTRY HIT HARDEST BY FLOODING

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$10 million estimated in damage to crops, infrastructure

By Maciu Malo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 30, 2012) – Fiji’s sugar industry is the worst-hit in last week's flood.

Of the estimated damage bill of $32,871,592 [US$18,408,200] posted so far, the sugar industry is reported to have suffered damage of up to $18 million [US$10 million].

The Sugar Ministry said there was significant damage to its support infrastructure such as the tramlines, bridges, and most importantly, the new season's crop.

A report from the DISMAC team on the cost of damage revealed that $4.5m worth of crops was damaged along with infrastructure damage of $13.5 million [US$7.5 million].

The report shows the damage covered all four sugar mills – Lautoka, Rarawai, Penang and Labasa.

"It is important to note that in order to provide an enabling environment for a quick recovery for the industry, immediate consideration and top priority must be given to the cane rehabilitation," the report said.

Crop damage has been estimated at $6,098,377.90 and this is expected to result in an increase in agricultural produce on the market.

Ba lost an estimated $5,019,288 worth of crops followed by Nadroga with $771,073.90 and Rakiraki with $308,016.

"For the province of Ba, low-lying areas that remain flooded for more than eight hours have all food crops destroyed, and households will need food rations for one month" the report stated.

"Most of the areas covered were not accessible for survey, as a result only limited scope of information based on the priority areas are selected and assessed. Thus, the figure used will be provisional at this point.

"For Nadroga District the report shows a total of $771,073.90 will be use to rehabilitate the 799 farmers affected by the flood.

"The majority of these farmers will have quick recovery of one to four months on average. In Ba District, a sum of $5,019,288 has been assumed to be the estimate cost for rehabilitation. Except for tikina Tuva, it will need food rations for one month and review."

Damages to roads and bridges were also substantial.

[PIR editor’s note: FijiLive reported earlier that initial estimates for damages to the sugar industry as a whole have been lowered from US$10 million to US$7.7 million after a "thorough assessment by officials."]

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