PM calls for action, says cane growers resilience is being tested

PM calls for action, says cane growers resilience is being tested

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 16/08/2022
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

“Make no mistake, the resilience of every cane grower is being tested as we speak, as the price of fertilizer is up almost double and Russia’s senseless and bloody invasion of Ukraine is spurring the largest commodity shock since the 1970.”

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made this comment at the opening of the International Sugar Organization Workshop and the 60th ISO Council Meeting in Lautoka this morning.

Bainimarama says the invasion of Ukraine is throwing fuel on the fire of an input-price crisis which has been made worse by sanctions on Belarus and the export restrictions imposed by China, the largest exporter of diammonium phosphate which is the world's most widely used phosphorus fertilizer. He says farmers are not only paying more for their inputs but live under the spectre of a single climate disaster erasing entire land area overnight.

The Minister for Sugar says every year, these risks will rise. He says for this among countless other reasons, Fiji is consistently resolute in calling for climate action.

Bainimarama says for Fiji’s part, cyclones alone have cost the sugar industry more than $200 million since 2016.

He says the Fijian Government heavily subsidises input costs like fertiliser, invests heavily in industry-related research, including resilient crop production, provides grants and subsidies, and funds capital programs aimed at increasing sugar cane planting and production, improving and increasing the rate of mechanisation. The Prime Minister further says the solidarity of the world’s largest cane producers, and the world’s largest sugar markets is essential to ensure a level playing field, now more than ever. He is also urging the International Sugar Organization Head Office to strongly exercise its administrative role to organize or coordinate more opportunities for capacity building and human capital investment across and amongst member countries.

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