‘Cane production continues to decline’

Canefarmers work on a sugarcane field in the West. NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad claims the sugar industry is struggling for survival. Picture: SUPPLIED

Canefarmers work on a sugarcane field in the West. Picture: SUPPLIED/FILE

DESPITE a $400 million injection into the sugar industry by Government over the past 13 years, cane production has continued to decline.

This was the view expressed by Opposition parliamentarians yesterday during debate on a motion by the National Federation Party for the establishment of a bipartisan select committee on sugar.

Social Democratic Liberal Party parliamentarian Niko Nawaikula said the problem with Government was that it was not able to admit the sugar industry was in trouble.

“We gave you 13 years to correct the problem,” he said.

“What have you done, $400m given by us and the donors. Admit it, you have done nothing.”

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said Government was not only unwilling to seek assistance to address sugar industry issues, it was also plagued with “cognitive dissonance”.

“I find this Government, especially on the sugar industry like other issues, it is a Government which has actually locked itself in a room with many mirrors and they don’t know which reflection is the genuine one and which is not,” he said.

“The statistics on the sugar industry is quite glaring.

“The other day I also described a disease and I think it is a characteristic of this Government, it’s called cognitive dissonance — where this Government believes they are doing all right for the sugar industry by doing bits and pieces.

“They hold that view very strongly but the reality is something else.”

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