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Fiji is ready for one of its biggest challenges — the end of the European Union Sugar Protocol.
That's the word from newly-appointed Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark.
“I'm a strong believer of taking advantage of our competitive strengths and I believe Fiji has a huge strength in terms of its geographic location in regard to the areas which sugar needs to be supplied,” he said.
“Our access to the Asian markets is better than anybody and the Asian market is driving consumption at the moment.
“As you level the playing field, those who can supply those markets more efficiently than others will be the ones who can benefit.”
Clark said Fiji would aggressively pursue opportunities to take advantage of its competitive position and to maximise on trade agreements within the Asian market.
He said the end of the EU trade agreement opened up the ability for Fiji to diversify its marketing strategies.
“We don't have to sell sugar in shiploads anymore, the opportunity to pack sugar and sell bagged sugar into the Pacific region again is right there.
“Fiji has a wonderful reputation as a brand opportunity and we are very fortunate to have Fairtrade accreditation for all of our production.
“So when you put all of that into the marketing mix and look at using that to lessen the impact of the loss of preferential markets, I don't think its doom and gloom by any means.
“This is a great opportunity to get out there and do something different.”
Clark said the key to surviving international competition and sustaining the industry domestically was in increasing sugarcane production and lowering production costs.
Over the past four decades, the country has enjoyed a trade agreement with the EU which meant that Fiji sold its sugar at up to three times the world market price and enjoyed a duty-free quota access of about 220,000 tonnes every year since the mid 1970s.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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