Fiji @ 50: Sugar’s bittersweet future

Growers like Gyan Deo may be the reason why Fiji’s sugar industry will still have a future in the next half a century.

Like the bulk of the country’s 12,000 sugarcane growers, Deo works his 12-acre farm in rural farmland, outside Nadi town, on the west coast of Fiji’s main island.

“If I can get 300 tonnes from this year’s crop, I would be happy,” said Deo. “I might not have a lot in my take home pay, but at least I would be able to pay my cane cutters, and meet my fertiliser, delivery and other costs.”

At the current Fiji government guaranteed price of F$85 (US$40) per tonne, the Nadi farmer should expect a gross income of F$25,500 ($11,800). 

Unfortunately for him and the Fiji Government, such feelings of optimism among cane growers are not contagious.

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