Felix Chaudhary (Fiji Times)
The current review of the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) will result in job losses, Sugar Ministry Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan has said.
He said that there would be a serious shakeup at the FSC and key industry partners such as the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji.
“We have to right-size the FSC because of the issues at hand, including the $32 million loss incurred last year. There has to be a serious review of how the FSC does its business because as it stands, without government guarantees and assistance, it is a bankrupt entity, as Chairman Vishnu Mohan has said.”
Mr Mohan said recently that one of the biggest issues faced by the miller was its annual operational cost of $50 million.
FSC has a workforce of about 2000.
Mr Karan said that the recently appointed Chief Executive Graham Clark was contracted to right-size the organisation.
“SFC must start making money and also must be careful in how it is spent. We have no tolerance for non-performers and dead weight in the industry,” he said.
Mr Karan recently returned from an extensive tour of farms and mills in India.
He said that there was an urgent need to revisit the support services for farmers.
“I have just got back from Pune and I can tell you that we are decades behind in every aspect of the industry. In India, they produce cane seeds in labs and farmers are given new cane seeds every three years. Here, we are still heavily dependent on ratoon crops. As far as I am concerned, the FSC and SRIF have failed the industry miserably. We need a total review of the industry. We cannot continue to run the FSC the way it has been run because if we stay with the status quo, the industry will collapse,” Mr Kiran said.