2 Jun 2014

Fiji fair trade sugar farmers defend their brand

10:13 am on 2 June 2014

Fiji sugar cane farmers producing under the Fairtrade brand say it would be unfair if their sugar was stripped of its fair trade label.

The International Trades Union Congress has called for an end to the labelling in Fiji because fair trade principles are being violated by the Fiji regime.

A farmer's representative, Parbindra Singh, says sugar farmers are some of the poorest people in Fiji but there have been many benefits under fairtrade including money for community projects, education and subsidised fertilisers.

"Farmers will again lose hope as far as their sugar cane cultivation is concerned. (Since) fair trade has come in, people are now coming back to farming once again. Because most of the farmers two years back, they wanted to go away from this sugar cane farming. It was very hard, very very hard I would say."

Mr Singh says the 13-thousand fair trade sugar farmers and their families receive a premium of nearly four million US dollars annually for their sugar.