Essay on The Rural Economy Of Fiji

1793 Words Jun 10th, 2016 8 Pages
Sugarcane industry, today dominates the rural economy of Fiji and employs a large number of rural population. The first sugar, introduced by the European colonists, was produced in Fiji in 1862 around the flatland areas near Suva (now the capital city of the country) due to the availability of fertile alluvial soils (FSC 2014). However, after the first few years the center of production shifted to the rural western and northern parts of Fiji’s two biggest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (also known as the ‘cane belt area’), due to the fact that sugarcane needs dryer areas for better quality of sugar to be produced (Ward 1965; Mayer 1961). Whilst the majority of the growers are Fiji Indians, the land belongs to the indigenous Fijians (Ward 1965, p. 11).
Map of Fiji’s sugarcane producing areas Indians were first brought to Fiji through the indentured labour contracts under the British government in 1879 (Lal 2003; Norton 2004; Connell 1985). Britain’s first colonial Governor in Fiji, Sir Arthur Gordon, saw the introduction of the Indian labourers for two main purposes. First, they were to provide cheap labourers to work for the European sugarcane planters, which would secure Fiji’s economic and financial stability (Lal 2003). Secondly, Indian labourers were needed as the British colonial government kept the indigenous Fijians in isolation in their koro (Fijian villages) to preserve their social structure, traditions and customs (Lal 2003). Between 1879 and 1916 around…

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