Posts tagged Sugar Industry

SPEECH : PRIME MINISTER VOREQE BAINIMARAMA AT THE FIJI SUGAR CORPORATION SPORTS DAY AT NATABUA HIGH SCHOOL IN LAUTOKA

Bula vinaka, everyone, and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be with you in Lautoka – the sugar city – for the Fiji Sugar Corporation Sports Day.

What a wonderful occasion and how great it is to see you all here – the men and women who are an integral part of this great industry and your families.

When I heard from your Executive Chair that this event was happening, I was determined to be here at Natabua High School to share in the excitement.

This is not the occasion for a long speech except to say that the whole country values the contribution each and every one of you is making to the prosperity of your fellow Fijians.

As you know, 200,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the sugar cane industry for a living. It is our country’s second largest income earner and the hard work you all do benefits every Fijian.

In fact, many people had written the industry off. Yet all along, my Government has been determined to keep it alive.

And so we made the reforms that were needed, the tough decisions required so that all of you can continue to have jobs in the industry and provide for your families.

The new crushing season starts in a couple of days and I ask you all to put your hearts and souls into making it a success. And in return for all your hard work, I’ve got an announcement to make today.

In your next pay packet, every worker for the FSC is going to get a pay rise of five per cent backdated to the first of January of this year.

I want to say that all of you thoroughly deserve it. It isn’t a hand out, You earned it. It’s an acknowledgement of the hard work you put in last season. So congratulations!

You are an example to all Fijians of what can be achieved when workers, management and Government join hands for the good of everyone. You helped us make the reforms that were needed to put sugar on a proper footing and now you are reaping the rewards.

There are more benefits to be reaped if we continue with this collaboration in which we focus on the long term goals and sustainability.

So ladies and gentlemen sugar cane has turned the corner, just as our nation has turned the corner. And both the industry and our country can look forward to a much brighter future so long as we keep working hard and stay unified and focused.

To all of you, the staff, the management and the board, thank you very much for a wonderful effort.

And it now gives me great pleasure to declare the Fiji Sugar Corporation sports day open.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER BAINIMARAMA’S SPEECH AT THE LAUNCHING OF FIJI CROP AND LIVESTOCK COUNCIL OFFICES

Bula vinaka and good afternoon to you all.

It’s a pleasure to be in Lautoka today to open the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council’s new offices.

The importance that my Government places on farming and agriculture cannot be overstated.

In a country blessed with so much fertile land, there’s no reason why we can’t grow the food we need as a country here at home.
And there’s no reason that on top of that we can’t grow food for our Tourism Industry and food for export as well.

Specialists call this issue “food security.” What that means is guaranteeing enough crops and livestock to feed our population without relying on imports. It’s one of the biggest challenges that any country will face in the 21st century and Fiji is no exception. At the moment, we depend too much on imported food.

But it’s not only about food security. Locally grown food is also less expensive, buying it supports local families and improves our balance of payment position.

For all these reasons, promoting “Fijian Grown”, “Buy Fijian” is a no brainer.

That’s why my Government has made supporting agriculture and assisting our farmers one of our top priorities.

We want farmers to be successful and to earn a living that can support them and their families. And we want all Fijians to benefit from growing more food locally.

To make farming a profitable profession in today’s world however, often takes more than just planting a few seeds or cuttings or getting a few cattle or goats.

Farming today is a highly specialised skill and farmers need the proper training and assistance in order to do the job they’re expected to do and to achieve the results they’re hoping to achieve. Running a farm is a business and farmers need to be commercially savvy.

So one of my Government’s most important jobs is equipping farmers with the tools, education and support they deserve to give them sustained livelihoods and boost our nation’s food security in the process.

The bottom line is that together we need to modernise the Industry and make it more productive.

This brings us to today, the opening of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council’s new offices that will significantly enhance the services available to its members.

For those of you who don’t know, the Council represents farmers and works with Government to find solutions that will grow their businesses.

In 2010, my Government gave the Council the green light and today it represents stakeholders from 17 commodity associations, including beef, diary, pig, goat, root crop, fruit, ginger, kava, coconut and food processors.

The Council raises important issues with Government on behalf of its members and helps us identify where assistance is needed.

The Government and the FCLC have already worked closely on a number of issues. For example the recent assistance to the local pork industry by introducing protection from foreign predatory pricing and dumping.

My Government has also, because of our vision, zero rated duty on farm machinery, relevant implements and products. We have recently introduced a $1-millon fertilizer subsidy for non-sugar cane farmers.

At the moment, the FCLC is working on a very important project: educating farmers about how to apply for loans. Lending by private banks has grown exponentially in recent times, contributing to a very healthy growth of our nation’s economy. Farmers must take advantage of the increased lending and economic growth. As I mentioned earlier, running a farm is a business and farmers need to be equipped with the appropriate know-how in order to support and grow their operations.

In this respect later today I will be passing out certificates to twelve Financial Management Counselors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
You’ll often hear me talk about “big picture” thinking. It’s the notion that as a Government we should never think of any one policy in isolation; instead, we need to understand how it fits into the bigger picture of what we’re trying to accomplish in the long-term.

I’m proud to say that my Government has introduced big picture thinking to Fiji’s Agriculture sector. We’ve taken a holistic approach so that our policies work together to encourage and assist Fijian farmers.

Government’s agricultural scholarships, launched in 2013, are a perfect example of this.

They address one of the biggest problems facing the Industry: that not enough of our young people are choosing to become farmers.

We need to encourage students to think seriously about farming as a profession and show them that it can offer solid career prospects.

Each year, after a rigorous selection process, successful scholarship recipients attend a 12-month certificate course at the Fiji National University Agricultural School that will train them in the various agricultural disciplines.

Under this program, these agricultural graduates will emerge from their studies with a career path and significant Government assistance to enable them to achieve their ambitions.

This is an important part of modernising the Industry and boosting the quality of our farmers.

I’m pleased to see the FCLC supporting these efforts by embracing the power of new technology.

The Council will soon be launching mobile phone applications – farmers will be able to use their mobile phone to access critical information, such as weather advisories and current market prices.
Of course access to this type of technology has been made possible by my Government’s liberalisation of the Telecommunications Industry and zero rating duty on smart phones – a holistic approach means benefits cut across the different sectors of the economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
As part of our focus on agriculture and farming, I would like to take this opportunity to announce a major revamp of the Sugar Cane Industry which we have been working on for a while.

Of course it must be remembered that it is only through the diversion of the EU sugar cane funds to other sectors that organizations such as FCLC have benefitted immensely from this redirection.

Government has been working to finalise a Sugar Industry Decree that will revolutionise the sugar cane transport system in Fiji amongst a number of other much-needed reforms.

Any sugar cane farmer will tell you that the current transport system is too expensive, too slow and too unreliable. For some farmers, cane transport or cartage makes up 50 per cent of their total costs.

There are instances when farmers have been held ransom by those who demand more than the agreed price for cartage.

And there are also instances when farmers have suffered because transport does not show up on time.

Under the new Decree, all this will change. The Fiji Sugar Corporation will assume management of all harvesting and transport.

This will give FSC direct control, greatly improving reliability and efficiency.

Farmers will also see a big push to improve the rail network and improve access to it so that more of them can take advantage of rail’s lower cost: $6 a ton by rail versus $13 a ton by lorry.

This is something that farmers have been asking for a long time, and their requests have not fallen on deaf ears.

But, of course, lorries will always be a vital part of the I`ndustry because they can access places that rail cannot. That’s why the FSC is also looking into discounting fuel for lorry drivers by 8 to 10 cents a litre. This will spell big savings for farmers and is another important reform.

However, the reforms are not just for the transport of cane. The Sugar Decree will also allow for the election of 8 Councillors to the Sugar Cane Growers Council – One from each mill area district. These Councillors will be elected directly by farmers to represent them in the Council and work together with FSC, Government and other relevant stake-holders.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fiji is on the right track and so long as we keep the fundamental current policy direction and settings in place, I have no doubt that farming has a bright future in our country.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the European Union for their contribution to the FCLC, which together with Government assistance shall finance the operations of the organisation for the next three years.

With those few words, it is now my pleasure to declare the FCLC’s new offices open.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of the APO 54th Workshop Meeting of the Heads of National Productivity Organisations

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

On behalf of the Fijian Government and people, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to Fiji for the 54th Workshop Meeting of the Heads of National Productivity Organisations.

I also extend a very special welcome to the new Secretary General of the Asian Productivity Organization, Mr. Amano.

We are very pleased to host this meeting in Fiji, and I sincerely hope that you will take time to enjoy  our country and experience our world renown Fijian hospitality.

Fiji is fortunate to have been a member of the APO for nearly thirty years.

We joined the APO because we wanted to take advantage of the large body of knowledge and experience in productivity that had developed within the APO member countries. Asia was on the move. It was growing. It was a force to be reckoned with in technology, industry and trade. Asian manufacturers were transforming the world marketplace, often displacing iconic American and European companies that had once been dominant. And it was clear that this Asian resurgence was driven by productivity and, above all, quality.  Today, we no longer talk about an Asian resurgence; we talk about an Asian standard—in automobiles, electronics, optics, capital goods, and services, just to name a few sectors.

We wanted to be a part of that movement. We wanted to capture the energy, optimism, and spirit of innovation that was driving Asia for ourselves—and I believe we have. We still have a lot of work to do, but there is no doubt that we are a different country than we were when we started with APO. Fiji wants to compete with the best in a global marketplace that is more competitive and includes more players every day.

Over these past 29 years, we have received a great deal of support from APO–training and development in many areas that have helped raised the performance of managers, technicians and CEOs alike—in both the private and public sectors. And thanks to APO’s strong role in building the capacity of our own NPO, we Fijians have advanced our own efforts to be more productive and efficient, to encourage better management, and to stay abreast of the changes that affect the world’s economy.

We owe a great deal to the lessons we have learned from our fellow APO member countries in making Fiji more productive and committed to quality.   The services you have provided in Business Excellence have been particularly useful to both the private sector and my government.

We began with the recommendations for quality awards for the private sector that emerged from the first Round Table Conference on Productivity, in 1995. By 2005, we had developed a similar recognition program for government.  Participation in the Service Excellence Awards is now mandatory for all government ministries.

Our goal is to institutionalize the commitment to quality, to constant improvement, and to commitment to excellence.  We hold up the best performers as examples for the entire country not just to pat people on the back. We do it not just to show how well people have completed steps in a process. We do it because the public needs to know in concrete terms what quality and excellence look like. They also need to see that behind every quality program, product or service, there are people of character, people who persevere, who know how to lead and share, who work with integrity, who do not rest until they have accomplished something that is truly good and worthy—and most importantly, who have their minds firmly focused on how they can do even better.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fiji is determined to link our name—or national brand, if you will—with quality. I believe we are achieving that in the tourism and hospitality sector, where we are competing with the most desirable and sophisticated tourist destinations in the world. This is one of the first truly world-class industries we are creating in Fiji, using a combination of foreign experience, local know-how, and our people’s innate sense of hospitality to build something that gives us great pride. And we have done so without sacrificing our natural environment; in fact, Fiji’s natural beauty and the variety of experiences it offers are a big part of our brand in tourism.

However, there is room for improvement in many areas within this industry. The goal of productivity in itself means a constant reflection, a constant assessment and critique.

We have seen though how one very important and highly visible industry like tourism can inspire and drive quality in other areas. Every business now has a high standard to meet, and as I talk to our private sector leaders, it is clear that they want both the challenge and the opportunity of meeting that standard.

Our Fijian Made campaign is an important step in that process. It is not just a campaign to encourage Fijians to buy products made in Fiji and therefore amongst other things, protect Fijian jobs. It is also a program to promote the quality of Fijian goods at home and abroad. Products must meet quality standards before they earn the Fijian Made label, whether they are manufactured in Fiji, designed in Fiji, grown in Fiji, crafted by hand in Fiji, or assembled in Fiji. In textiles, food processing, apparel, personal products, and many other areas, “Fijian Made” must be a synonym for quality.

My government sees it as our duty to give our citizens what they need to meet the high standards we expect from them. Our main priorities have been to improve the roads, reform the ports, develop a robust wireless broadband regime that connects the entire country, wage a relentless fight against corruption, and invest in education.

And we believe getting top performance out of our state-owned industries is more than just good sense; it sets an example. In that regard for example, we have both created and reformed the Fijian mahogany industry. We made the hard decisions, we made strategic investments, and we engaged all stakeholders in the effort. The turnaround has been dramatic and real.

And we reformed our sugar industry to make our farmers and our mills more productive. Sugar is a big part of our economy, providing livelihoods for thousands of people. There are many sugar-producing countries in the world, and complicated and at times skewered international agreements governing trade in sugar. Nonetheless, our farmers needed to increase yields, our mills need to refine more efficiently, and we need to take advantage of the by-products of sugar cane for other uses.

Ladies and gentlemen, it takes a national commitment to build a nation, and improving national productivity is no different. All of us—producers, retailers and wholesalers, government, labor, the financial community, the business community, employee organizations, the education sector, trade unions and consumers—have to be fully engaged in the effort.

Ladies and gentleman, all nations—irrespective of size, location and endowments—share the dream of creating more wealth and improving the socio-economic conditions of their people.

We understand well that our ability to increase wealth depends in no small part on our ability to raise productivity in all walks of life.

Fiji has made substantial progress in recent times, thanks to the collective efforts of our citizens.

We have created a strong economic platform for growth. Last year, our economy grew by 2.2 per cent. This year our economy is projected to grow by 3.6 per cent.

We have noticed great optimism in the private sector. Investment is increasing and businesses are expanding. Private sector investment this year is expected to reach 13 percent of GDP, up from around 4 percent a few years ago.

Recognizing that infrastructure is one of our biggest barriers to economic development, we have already raised capital expenditures from 20 per cent of budget to 32 per cent of budget.

This long-term investment in capital works, which I alluded to earlier, is unprecedented and will bear fruit in greater productivity. It will also provide a more favorable environment for business and citizens alike as we move towards a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.

Our education and training institutions have a key role to play in helping our employees, employers, business sector and governmental organizations become more productive. It was with this in mind, and with a view to realize greater economies of scale and effects, that my government merged all the key higher educational institutions in the country to form the Fiji National University or FNU in 2009.

The FNU now is home to the National Training and Productivity Centre, which is the National Productivity Organisation for the country. It provides training and promotion in all things to do with quality and productivity. I am happy to note the FNU has made a mark not only nationally and in the region, but internationally as well, and I thank the Vice Chancellor and his team for that.

And finally, I would like to talk a bit about political change. Ladies and gentleman, Fiji reached a pivotal moment in its history last month when His Excellency the President of the Republic of Fiji promulgated the nation’s new Constitution.

This Constitution introduces Fiji’s first genuine democracy since we gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1970.  It is a Constitution that upholds the legal and moral basis of a common and equal citizenry without denying anyone’s individuality or culture.

It enshrines principles that are at the heart of the world’s great liberal democracies – an independent judiciary, a secular state and a wide range of civil, political and socio-economic rights.

It recognizes the indigenous peoples of Fiji and their customary practices; enshrines and safeguards the ownership rights of the predominantly indigenous landowners and at the same time gives unprecedented protection to lessees of land; demands accountability and transparency from public office holders; builds strong and independent institutions; and replaces our old electoral system with one based on the principle of one person, one vote, one value.

This historic achievement is the culmination of a path that Fiji embarked on in 2007 to establish a modern and stable society that could determine its own affairs and become a proud and responsible player in the global community.

This has much to do with productivity and quality, because a nation that is not one with itself, a nation that has not established its values, a nation that does not have a clear legal and social framework will have a hard time being truly productive.

To be productive, a nation must harness the talents, energies and aspirations of its people. And the people will freely give of those talents and energies if they know that their government has established a level playing field, that they can get substantive justice, that they will not have to overcome corruption, that they can have access to credit, and that they will be rewarded for their effort.

We now move with great optimism towards the first democratic elections in our nation’s history which will be held no later than 30 September 2014, and an era of unprecedented productivity.

The Secretary General, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen with those few words, it is now my great pleasure to officially declare the 2013 Heads of National Productivity Organizations’ Workshop Meeting open.

I wish you all an excellent meeting—and great productivity.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Thank you.

Bainimarama Address at the National Workshop for Fiji’s Trade Policy

Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning.

I returned yesterday from a very successful tour of Vanua Levu, during which I opened another five of the Government’s new Telecentres to add to the 15 already established in other parts of Fiji.

These Telecentres are a cornerstone of my Government’s program to provide better services to ordinary Fijians – in this instance, giving them access to the information and communications revolution sweeping the rest of the world.

In the wake of my trip, close to 40,000 Fijians now have regular access to these Telecentres and use of the Internet and the Worldwide Web. Inevitably, they are going to be better informed as a result.

We are empowering them as part of our vision to be the powerhouse of economic activity in the region. Because that activity and the resulting prosperity that will flow to all our people can only come if Fiji becomes a smart country, an educated country, an informed country – a country able to adapt quickly to changes in our world, recognise the opportunities and seize them.

This is absolutely essential in order to become a modern, dynamic state. By becoming smarter, better educated, better informed, all facets of our reform agenda will benefit, including what we’re trying to do to grow trade, build our economy, and create jobs.

You’re all aware of my Government’s campaign to improve the economy generally through tax cuts, investment incentives and better infrastructure – better roads and faster turnaround times in our ports.

It’s very gratifying to see that effort finally paying off. Our economic growth has been revised upwards to 3.2 per cent, the best result since 2004. The naysayers have been proven wrong. Fiji is on the move again. Fiji is attracting more investment. More jobs are being created. There’s a new mood of confidence in the country. And a much greater sense of optimism as we move towards the first democratic election in our history next year.

Our Constitution guarantees basic socio-economic rights for all Fijians, such as the right to economic participation and the right of adequate health, education, food and clean water.

This provides the foundation for adopting a pragmatic and inclusive Framework on Trade Policy, which promotes Fijian jobs and improves the living standards of all Fijians.

Our vision is to serve as the hub of the pacific. to be able to compete internationally in all facets of our economy.

This National Workshop is part of the Government’s commitment to deepen cooperation and coordination between stakeholders. To be our best, we all have to be on the same page. We need a single vision.

we are all gathered here to finalise the trade policy framework to ensure how we – as “Fiji Incorporated,” or “Team Fiji” – can maximise our international trade by working together more effectively.

If we are ever to achieve our ambitious aims as a regional and international trading heavyweight, we have to think differently, outside the box as I’m fond of saying. Not just do things the way they’ve always been done but start afresh.

This Trade Policy Framework will capitalise on the positive reforms we’ve already made and improve the general business environment and trade related infrastructure.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin with some internal housekeeping.

I have to say that I’m deeply disappointed that some sections of government have been dragging their feet in embracing this initiative.

I want there to be no doubt – no doubt at all – that the path towards integration of trade policy between all ministries and departments – as proposed by this Framework – is the way forward. The only way forward.

I want more coordination. I want everyone to get with the framework . Because – as representatives of the same Government – we need to work towards the common goal of improving our trade performance. It’s as simple as that.

We need a shift away from the bureaucratic turf wars. We also need to realise that we are a team, not individual agencies working in isolation. All agencies need to realise that they are there to facilitate, not obstruct. all agencies need to work together to achieve the best outcomes for the nation. We need this to happen now.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Government also need to make sure that it works effectively with the private sector. We must seize every opportunity to form effective public-private partnerships, and together contribute to a shared vision.

The National Workshop for Fiji’s Trade Policy Framework is an inclusive and pragmatic approach to enhancing our trade. It’s the paradigm shift necessary to ensure that all segments of the economy, all arms of government work together, not against one another.

Put simply, it is in our shared interest to enhance Fiji’s position in global trade and assume our natural place as the trade hub of the Pacific.

This Framework will determine how to “connect all the dots” and address our production capacity, and supply-side constraints with the ultimate objective of enhancing Fiji’s position in global trade.

Harnessing our opportunities in international trade will mean more demand for Fijian-made goods and services leading to increased investment from the private sector and the creation of jobs and wealth.

That means a better general effort to identify new opportunities. That means every Fijian – government, business and workers – taking responsibility to keep the national economy in the best possible shape. And make things and provide services that people elsewhere want to buy and keep buying.

Because only with a strong national economy and a healthy export trade can we hope to ultimately raise the standards of all Fijians, to put an end to the poverty and give every Fijian child hope for a better and more sustainable future.

It is not someone else’s responsibility. It is not the Government’s responsibility alone. It is not the private sector’s responsibility alone. It is not the responsibility of our workers alone. It is the responsibility of all of us – working together as one nation, one team – to make Fiji stronger.

So the main task before you at this workshop is to strengthen and deepen the support, cooperation and coordination of every stakeholder for the Trade Policy Framework and our national economy.

Fijians don’t want to hear excuses. They want to see results. And that means changing mindsets, getting rid of some of the attitudes and practices that have held us back, including crushing bureaucracy. We need a better developed attitude of serving people’s needs rather than tying them up in bundles of red tape.

The whole emphasis of our collective effort should be to remove inefficiency, eliminate waste and improve productivity. We need to streamline processes, we need to avoid duplication, we need faster implementation of good ideas rather than excuses about why it’s all too hard.

Over the next two days, you’ll be considering a report – prepared after consultations with all the stakeholders – that identifies Fiji’s trade requirements, capacity and constraints. Consider it carefully and improve on it where you can.

We’re also setting up a Multi Stakeholder Council – chaired by the Minister for Industry and Trade – to give each stakeholder an important role in determining our coordination effort. I hope you will all also give that the serious consideration it deserves. Because this is your chance to present your ideas on trade matters direct to me and my Cabinet and contribute to our policy settings.

We’re putting our money where our mouth is by allocating $164,000 in the 2014 budget to implement this initiative and also by providing adequate staffing to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Finally Ladies and Gentlemen, my Government recognises the need for increased trade representation in some of Fiji’s key trading partners to boost our overall effort.

We don’t have a trade representative in our largest trading partners, Australia and the Pacific Islands, which combined accounts for 40% of Fiji’s total trade.

So it stands to reason that we have enormous untapped potential in Australia and the Pacific Region that we are still to capitalise on, especially in the manufacturing sector.

We clearly need to open a Trade Commission in a strategic location in Australia and also possibly appoint a roving Trade Commissioner to the Pacific.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I ask everyone in this room to commit themselves to this process, a genuine partnership to improve Fiji’s trading performance and raise the living standards of all fijians.

And with that, I wish you well in your deliberations.

Vinaka vakalevu and thank you.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Remarks on the New Trade Finance Facility for Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC)

My Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the sugar industry and sugar farmers by guaranteeing a Euro 40 million structured trade finance facility for the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC), provided by the ANZ bank.

The agreement between ANZ and the FSC came after a rigorous process of vetting potential finance providers, both on and offshore.

It is important that we cut through the technical-speak and financial language of this agreement. The purpose of this finance facility is to aid sugar farmers and the sugar industry by improving FSC’s cash flow and as a result enforcing financial discipline, and creating more confidence and stability within the industry.

After the establishment of the new finance facility, FSC will have financing on hand to carry out preventative maintenance at the crushing mills and also to put in place a system whereby famers can receive payment for their cane within two-weeks of delivery to the mills.

Because of significant cash flow problems FSC, over the years, has not been able to pay farmers on time – sometimes delays of up to 6 weeks are experienced. This will now become a thing of the past.

The implementation of this new payment system for farmers is a continuation of my Government’s strategy to encourage participation in the industry. The period of payment for cane cutters has already been reduced from 4 weeks to 2 weeks.

Another important aspect of this agreement is the enforcement of financial discipline. For many years, financial discipline was lacking at the FSC, due to a number of unscrupulous individuals, which led to the significant deterioration of the sugar infrastructure in Fiji, especially at the mills. ANZ will now have an input to ensure that proper due diligence is performed before funds are spent.

This agreement also demonstrates the confidence the private sector sees in Fiji’s sugar industry, and shows the potential for private sector involvement in the development and growth of agriculture with Fiji.

This agreement is the most recent facet of my Government’s commitment to effect real reform in the sugar industry, to provide tangible benefits for sugar farmers, and to overall create a modern, viable and sustainable industry. This is a reversal of the unfortunate trend that existed in Fiji where certain individuals and groups used the sugar industry as a means to further their own personal and/or political interests, without a true commitment to the farmers and the growth of the Fijian sugar industry.