EU Commits $23 Million To Fiji’s Agriculture, Sugar Sectors

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Four year grant to help Cyclone recovery efforts

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 1, 2016) – The European Union has committed more than $47 million [US$23 million] to assist the sugar and agriculture sectors over the next four years, and to boost Fiji's post-Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston recovery efforts.

EU ambassador to the Pacific Andrew Jacobs also said additional financial aid was expected for the agriculture and sugar ministries, to assist the vulnerable and most affected.

"Given the extent of damage in the sugar sector and in agriculture in general and given its long-standing involvement particularly in the field of sugar, the European Union is currently working with both ministries in the context of the post-cyclone clusters' meeting managed by the National Disaster Management Office," Mr Jacobs said.

"We intend to make special financial support available. This will come on top of the €20m euro ($F47.07m) we have earmarked for sugar and agriculture for the next four years.

"Our special support will contribute to the recovery of both sectors, which are intertwined.

"We expect the post-disaster needs assessment — to be implemented in April and which the EU is pleased to co-finance —to provide a detailed assessment and a list of priority projects which we will jointly support with the Government of Fiji."

Mr Jacobs said it was too early to discuss the amount of funds that the EU would make available and the rolling out of support.

"But we are working hand in hand with the Government of Fiji to ensure that the European Union targets the most needy and vulnerable people, with a focus on those dependent on sugar and agriculture in the areas affected by Cyclone Winston."

He added that while working primarily with the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, the EU has already made in excess of $10million available for early recovery with a focus on farming communities.

"Support is available to farmers through the provision of 450,000 fruit and vegetable seedlings, through assistance helping to get agro-businesses back up and running, and for small scale infrastructure works in renewable energy and sanitation.

"In addition to this, the EU's humanitarian aid department (ECHO) has provided $2.35million [US$1.13 million] for disaster relief.

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