by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
For the past 125 years, the sugar industry has always been at the heart of the Fiji’s economic and socio-political history. Sugar is the country’s major export earner, contributing 22 per cent of the country’s GDP, and is an important commercial activity that provides direct employment for the country’s people.
In 2010, Fiji’s cabinet endorsed a proposal to reduce the number of members on the Sugar Cane Growers Council (SCGC). On Tuesday, parliament passed down a motion for amendments to be made to the Sugar Industry Act.
This act now allows for changes to be made to the composition of the SCGC to reflect the cabinet’s decision of reducing the number of members to the council.
According to Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, “the cane producers association now is the representative body that can deal with other issues pertaining to cane farmers.”
Adding on, Opposition MP, Prem Singh said “the objective of the cane producer association is to administer fair trade premiums and to represent interest of members of government.”
While these changes are approved by the parliament, one of the major problems identified to have affected the sugar industry was its politicisation.
With approved changes, there are hopes that this helps solve the problem, thus making the industry a political free industry and one that can be free from further intervention.