2 Jun 2014

Fairtrade Fiji sugar farmer deserve the fairtrade label

4:26 pm on 2 June 2014

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand says it is continuing to ensure workers' rights are addressed in Fiji and it stands by its labelling of fairtrade sugar from the country.

The International Trades Union Congress wants to strip Fiji sugar of the label because it says fair trade principles are being violated by the Fiji regime.

But the general manager of Fairtrade in New Zealand, Steve Knapp (nap), says the certification applies to the farmers who are at the bottom of the supply chain and are often the poorest.

He says Fairtrade is a strong supporter of workers' rights and it has been working over the last few years to promote dialogue between the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the mill workers unions.

"We're definitely not pulling the wool over consumers' eyes. I mean we certify the farmers' groups and the farmers meet the standards and the benefits from fair trade are flowing through to the farmers. Other issues in the supply chain, we're doing our best with our influence and our leverage to be able to tackle those issues."

Mr Knapp says the certification has brought huge benefits to Fiji's 13-thousand fair trade sugar farmers and their families.