A roadmap is being prepared for sugar mill upgrades in Fiji to improve the standard of the country's largest export earning industry.
And this has been made possible through a partnership between the Fijian and Indian government.
Sugar Ministry permanent secretary, Manasa Vaniqi said the partnership will will enhance and make the systems more productive and efficient.
“After borrowing $120million from ANZ this year, we have revitalised Fiji’s sugar industry to some extent in terms of mill operations but we are yet to improve our mills and facilitate our mills properly.”
He also stated that the Fijian Prime Minister’s visit to India to discuss Fiji’s sugar industry which has proved to be fruitful is part of the technical assistance scheme that had been put in place since 2006 when FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry was in-charge.
“The experts that are coming in the country to evaluate our mills are part of the technical assistance scheme that has been in place since 2006 meaning there would only be 3 mills involved,” Vaniqi said.
"The three sugar mills that were part of the reform process back in 2006 were the Lautoka sugar mill, Rarawai and Labasa mill and yet again when the experts arrive in the country, they would be working on these mills."
Vaniqi also said that the budget to finance this mill upgrade is still underway but currently word is that both the countries are likely to fund the project themselves.
Moreover, Vaniqi reiterated that the farmers should understand the mill maintenance has been slow and engineers are working overnights to fix these problems.
“A little bit of patience is required from everybody because we are trying to save this industry from sinking not in order to improve the economy or mills but to improve the daily lives of a lot of people who are dependant on it for a living,” Vaniqi said.
By Indrani Krishna