Large scale commercial cane farming must be explored and developed in Fiji, the country’s Reserve Bank governor has recommended.
Because it has been plagued with on-going problems, the industry now contributes only around 3.0 per cent to real GDP.
This is a significant fall in contribution when compared to around 11-12 percent contribution 10-15 years ago.
Following a peak of around 500,000 tonnes of sugar produced in 1994, production has steadily declined, Reddy said.
According to Reddy, the sugarcane output last year was the lowest since 1961.
“The total sugar output last season was 168,000 tonnes. The significant fall in sugar output last year was due largely to the inefficiency of the sugar mills, which affected sugar production.”
Reddy said the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s financial problems have to be quickly fixed as its cash flow situation is dire.
The industry he said, needs to put in strategies to increase cane production to two or three times the current production in the next 24 months.
And for this they need land and financial support.
“They have to rehabilitate large number of cane farms which are producing well below industry norms due to neglect of farms and long rationing rather than planting new cane every three to four years.
“Productivity must be improved through farm rationalization plus
good farm husbandry practices” he added.