Archive for the ‘Fiji's failing sugar industry’ Category

Seruiratu’s agricultural dream

October 17, 2014

In his maiden speech, the new Agriculture minister, Inia Seruiratu, has painted a rosy picture of what he’s going to do to boost agricultural output but he should have started with the facts of how much agricultural output has declined under Bainimarama. Rice went from 14370 tonnes a year in 2007 to 7914 tonnes in 2011. The Bureau of stats have published no new figures for the years after that. Goat production has slumped from 969 tonnes to 134 tonnes. Copra and coca have almost disappeared altogether. Most agricultural products have shrunk, with chicken and egg production the only products to have increased and kept pace with population growth. And this is because all the people who used to like beef and goat every now and then can no longer afford the luxury.

Fijilive October 16, 2014 Unlock potential, reduce import bills: Seruiratu

What happened to Frank’s 2 million tonnes?

September 10, 2014

Abdul Khan says FSC has processed 1.15 million tonnes of cane and he thinks there’s around 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes of harvestable cane to go. That means he’s admitting the cane harvest could be as low as 1.75 million tonnes.  In May our Minister for Wrecking the Sugar Industry forecast  a 2 million tonne harvest.  And if the estimate is down to 1.75 million tonnes in September, we can be sure it’s going to be lower and Bainimarama has sent his front man out to set the tone and prepare farmers to blame the drought instead of him.  How stupid does he think we are?

Fiji Times September 09, 2014 Cane harvest concerns

Fiji Times May 10, 2014  Two million tonne harvest

Frank’s plans for sugar -a new CSR?

August 28, 2014

Islands Business News has forecast the collapse of the sugar industry when the current EU agreement under the Lome Convention lapses.  We’ll face tariff barriers that will kill our high-priced production. The EU offered 350 million Euros in aid to lift our productivity but Bainimarama knocked this back in 2009.  He wasn’t interested in an election until he had had at least 4 years dictatorship so he could censure the media, stack the judiciary and jail political rivals.

A blogger on another site claimed that the sugar industry’s problems started in 1987 but the facts are clear. In 1986 we had 22,000 growers producing 4.1 million tonnes of cane from 70,0000 hectares.  In 1996 we were still producing 4.3 million tonnes of cane.  By 2006 after leases were not renewed and growers dropped out, production fell to 3.2 million tonnes.

It took Frank to cut acreage and yields to the point where we produce on 1.5 million tonnes of cane in 2012.  Sugar produced fell from 310,000 tonnes in 2006 to 150,000 tonnes in 2012.

So what is Frank’s plan? In January we were told of a Chinese mission visiting to discuss a possible refinery joint venture and the scope for purchasing 100,000 tonnes of sugar in the medium term.  Does this mean Frank plans to sell FSC to a Chinese company?  If he does we can be sure he’ll bankrupt cane farmers first and hand them and their land to a new CSR, the Chinese Sugar Refinery.

Frank’s plan for the sugar industry is well hidden from sight but his plan for power is easy to see in legislation like the Land Use Decree which gives him the power to hand huge tracts of land to a Chinese sugar refinery.  Cane farmers should not think the Land Use Decree was crated for their benefit. If it was, he would have used it for that purpose already, but he’s left cane farmers to the TLTB.

Corruption Fighter

Army to stay out of politics

August 20, 2014

Frank’s sugar ministry boss, Lt Col Manasa Vaniqi, has announced that this year the military will not be in the cane fields to monitor cane burning.  Law enforcement will be left the Fiji Police Force, as it should be. Lt Col Vaniqi again showed us he’s not the sharpest knife in the cane fields by saying: “We have a Constitution in place now and everyone has to follow the law of the land”.  In other words, he admitted that before the constitution was in place the regime did not feel it had to obey the law!!

Fiji Times 19 August 2014  No military assistance

Where is Khaiyum when you actually need him?

July 23, 2014

The cane harvest in the Northern division is the latest area to be hit by Water Authority of Fiji failures. Cane labourers have quit and returned home as a result of continuous intermittent water supply. Harvesting cane is hard work for low pay, when you add in lack of access to water when you need it, the job just doesn’t seem worth it. So where is our Minister for Public Enterprises who runs the whole show like it’s his personal business? He’s always ready to interfere but never ready to take responsibility.

Fiji Times, July 23, 2014 Cutters leave fields

As you were: FSC does not really want cane farmers!

July 16, 2014

On Sunday Fiji Live had a story about FSC offering incentive packages for new cane farmers and they quoted Abdul Khan speaking in a “a government statement”.  But Abdul Khan has now “clarified” that there is no package of incentives. It was just more of his BS. The TLTB head Qetaki said his board knows about it. So what are we talking about?  Was Abdul Khan floating the idea of new farmers to prepare for the post election sale of FSC to a Chinese company? The only thing we can be sure of is that the Bainimarama Government has had a very strange approach to the sugar industry.  They threw away EU aid and stood by watching the industry slowly die. They talk about their land policies but it’s clear they have in mind some other plan than the obvious one of helping former cane farmers lease land to grow cane.
Fiji Time July 16, 2014 FSC clears the air

Wanted new cane farmers: apply to FSC

July 14, 2014

FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan has made what is described as “a government statement” designed “to attract interested individuals and families to take up the offer to start cane farming”. So that’s why our sugar production has been going down.  We haven’t got enough farmers. Can he be serious?  What the sugar industry needs is trust. This was destroyed by the wrecking of the mills and the removal of all voices that could actually speak on behalf of farmers.  And where is the land that FSC can offer to “new” farmers?  Will it be the farms of old farmers where the regime has had the TLTB cancel leases because they’re no longer being used to grow cane?  What the sugar industy needs is trust and for that we need a new Minister and Permanent Secretary for Sugar and a new chairman and board at FSC. Applicants should apply in October.

Fijilive  July 13, 2014  FSC to provide package to new farmers

NFP enlists cane farmer stalwart

July 8, 2014

One of the first acts of the Bainimarama regime was to get rid of Jaganath Sami as CEO of the Sugar Cane Growers Council.  He was one of those institution executives terminated for allegations of corrupt practises. Now Jag is standing for the NFP. His job convincing cane farmers they and their industry have been betrayed by Bainimarama will not be a hard one. The wrecked mills, the lack of consultation on anything, throwing away hundreds of millions in aid meant for farmers, the list goes on and on. The sugar industry can be saved but only if we face facts, understand the depth of the problems and all work together to solve them. First step is get rid of the regime which wrecked the industry and the incompetent so-called Minister for Sugar who has spent more time in international conferences where he has nothing to contribute than in meetings with cane farmers who can tell him what the problems are.

Fijilive July 06, 2014 Ousted sugarcane growers CEO for NFP

Another FSC excuses season off to a good start

July 7, 2014

The harvest is barely a week old and the excuses are again flowing better than the cane and the sugar. Ever since FSC was put in the hands of a succession of regime stooges things have gone from bad to worse.  The figures speak for themsleves. The industry has been halved.  The best excuse the regime has got is the cut in the price paid for our sugar by the EU, but they never use this one because it reimnds us the EU offered the aid needed to re-structure the industry to cope with the drop in price, but our Minister for Sugar knocked back the aid because he didn’t want the lecture about democracy.

Radio Fiji Sun Jul 06, 2014 Teething problems a part of crushing season: FSC

Bainimarama proud of throwing away cane farmers money

July 3, 2014

The sugar industry has never been on Frank’s roadmap

Bainimarama enjoyed himself telling an Australian journalist the story of how he told the EU he didn’t need the 500million Euro in aid to cane farmers, which was lost because he broke the terms of the Cotonou agreement governing EU aid. Bainimarama claimed HE was offered a bribe but cane farmers all know the truth. He threw away THEIR money in order to hang on to power longer. The aid money was not for Bainimarama, it was for cane farmers to help THEM cope with the lower prices FSC now receives in the EU.  This tells us a lot about Bainimarama. His claim “I nearly hit him over the head with a bottle of Fiji Water” when the EU official supposedly offered him a bribe shows just how Bainimarama sees the issue.  It’s all about him, not the cane farmers and now he expects them to vote for him. Cane farmers should remember this when they vote: he not only threw away your money, he’s proud that he had the power to do it.
Fiji Live July 02, 2014 EU unaware of alleged PM bribe