The Government has no plans to diversify sugar production into syrup, the Sugar Ministry has clarified.
Earlier this week, this newspaper highlighted a story about a multi-million dollar investment by Rama Se Foundation founder and philanthropist Deepak Tahal and Y3 Kofera Trust, the traditional owners of Denarau.
The partnership is expected to facilitate cane syrup production for the commercial market. In response, the Sugar Ministry said in a statement that they, the Fiji Sugar Corporation, and all other sugar stakeholders had taken note of the news.
However, the ministry said pertinent issues needed clarification.
“The primary concern being the sustainability and success of the project within the sugar industry, such as the one being proposed,” the statement read.
“The Ministry of Sugar and FSC intend to inform the sugarcane farmers there are no plans by the Government to diversify the production into syrup, and that the initiative of the Rama Se Foundation and its arrangements may be directly with the farmers.
“Upon careful examination, the Ministry of Sugar and the Fiji Sugar Corporation have identified several pressing concerns that warrant discussions and clarification regarding the feasibility of this project. The absence of comprehensive project documentation, unsubstantiated profit claims and the lack of a detailed sustainable business model, all doubt the project’s viability.”
The ministry said it remained committed to supporting initiatives that held potential benefits for the sugar industry.
“Further refinement and clarification of the project plan are essential prerequisites before considering any form of endorsement or support.
“The Government, through the Ministry of Sugar Industry, will continue to inject into the sugar industry for increased cane production in the coming years.”
The ministry said it had 13 active programs to assist cane farmers.