National Farmers Union to request PM to revert the guaranteed cane price to $85 per tonne

National Farmers Union to request PM to revert the guaranteed cane price to $85 per tonne

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 18/07/2020
National Farmers Union General Secretary Mahendra Chaudhry

National Farmers Union General Secretary Mahendra Chaudhry says they will be writing to the Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Voreqe Bainimarama requesting that the guaranteed minimum price of $85 per tonne for cane be reverted from $70 as promised by the government while the Minister for Economy had said once Fiji’s larger economic recovery gets underway, the bottom-line of the cane growers will be among their priorities.

Chaudhry has labeled the reduction a gross breach of trust adding that the government has reneged on a promise it made to the farmers during the 2018 general election campaign to pay a guaranteed cane price of $85 a tonne for the next three years (2019-2021).

He says at $15 a tonne less, growers are being short changed by as much as $28 million based on the forecast of 1.8 million tonnes of cane for the 2020 season.

Chaudhry further says it is ironical that the Minister for Economy is prepared to pay $60 million to entice tourists to Fiji at the rate of $400 per visitor for the first 150,000, but deprives our own farmers of what they were promised.

Meanwhile, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had said on Friday that for two straight seasons they have paid cane growers $85 per tonne – a value far above the world market price adding that last season’s guaranteed price will be paid.

But Sayed-Khaiyum says in the final third season of the arrangement, they are reducing the guaranteed price for cane from $85 to $70 adding all other support to cane growers will continue.

$33 million was utilized to make up for the $85 guaranteed price for the 2018 sugarcane season.

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