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.