Introduction Of Sugar Cane Quality Payment System In Fiji Needs Further Dialogue

Plan for new payment system stalled in 2014; Minister wants further discussion

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 30, 2016) – The planned introduction of a cane quality payment system for the sugar industry needs further consultation and study.

This is the view of Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Yogesh Karan.

Former Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman and CEO Abdul Khan had announced three years ago plans to establish a system where farmers were paid according to the quality of cane they produced.

Despite his passion for the project, the cane quality payment system did not eventuate. At present, farmers are paid on the weight of cane delivered to FSC mills under a system that has existed since the dawn of sugar production.

Mr Karan said given the sensitivity of the issue, widespread consultations and awareness programs were needed.

"We cannot simply go ahead and implement a system without weighing the pros and cons," he said.

"Some farmers want it, while others don't and we need to find out the reasons why.

"It could be a simple matter of education on how the system will work if we do implement it. Whatever the outcome will be, we need further discussions.

"One thing that has become apparent is the need to change the cane payment system and even this will require further consultations as well."

Government had allocated a budget of $4.4 million [US$2.1 million] in the 2013 National Budget for the purchase of equipment and installation of the cane quality payment system.

In 2014, Mr Khan said equipment had been purchased and installed at the country's four mills, however, the system could not be implemented for undisclosed reasons.

Fiji Times Online.
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