Fiji Sugar Industry Must Compete At World Market Prices

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Preferential EU quota for industry ends in 2017

By Shayal Devi

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 2, 2015) – To survive in the long term, the Fiji Sugar Industry will have to prepare itself for competition at world market prices, says Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Parmesh Chand.

Speaking to industry stakeholders during the start of the crushing season at the Lautoka mill yesterday, Mr Chand said Fiji sugar was sold domestically, regionally and exported to the rest of the world.

"The sugar industry globally is passing through some challenging times due to depressed sugar prices," he said.

"For us in Fiji, we are not immune to these challenges as we all will be competing in the same world market once our preferential quota based access in the European Union lapses in 2017."

Fiji Sugar Corporation's quota for preferential sugar is approximately 220,000 tonnes per annum.

According to Mr Chand, the position on preferential sugar was clear until September 30, 2017.

After that, he said, the position was less certain in terms of market access and prices.

"For producers of raw sugar, emphasis on quality is of increasing commercial importance as marketing and the sale of raw sugar become more competitive. Many exporters are now supplying high quality raw sugar at competitive prices.

"To be sustainable and to be able to compete with other major sugar producing countries, Fiji also needs to diversify its revenue base using sugar cane as the raw material."

He said the industry aimed to do this through new initiatives such as cogeneration, sugar refinery and ethanol projects.

"We are happy to learn that two such projects, the cogeneration plant at Labasa and the special new sugar packaging plant at Lautoka are in the final stages of completion — ready for commissioning."

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