Cane growers are set to receive a record cane payment this year for the 2022 harvesting season after being short-changed by more than a total of $13.870 million for the previous three seasons.
The payment is now above the guaranteed price of $85 per tonne for the first time in 4 years.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad said following the announcement of the 4th cane payment of $7.11 per tonne of cane, the total so far for the 2022 season is $85.26 per tonne.
Prof Prasad said both he and Minister for Sugar Charan Jeath Singh are confident of a record price for the 2022 season when the final or wash-up payment is paid out in October.
“This should shut up critics, particularly the parliamentary opposition and those singing from the rooftops outside parliament, lying about the Coalition Government’s commitment towards growers and their families.”
He said since the former Fiji First Government introduced the guaranteed price in June 2018, $85 per tonne was paid only once.
“That was in October 2018, a few weeks before the November 2018 elections. It was clearly electioneering.”
“Because from 2019 to 2021 seasons, growers didn’t receive $85 per tonne as guaranteed. For 3 seasons they were short-changed. Growers lost a total of $13,870,183.40 under Fiji First.”
“This was a massive betrayal of cane growers by the former Fiji First Government that paid lip-service to their plight and kicked them to their guts.”
He said the Coalition Government is now re-setting the direction of the sugar industry, which was the lifeblood of our economy for over a century.
“And the first step towards this objective of revival of the industry and rejuvenating the confidence of growers is to fulfill the commitment of the guaranteed price of $85 per tonne.”