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Fiji Time: 3:32 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, January 12, 2013

TO reap the rewards that come with a new multi-million dollar deal between the European Union and sugar cane producers, farmers must follow the rules of the agreement.

This is the view of Rarawai and Penang Cane Growers Association president Gyan Singh following a milestone deal that would see its members benefit from a payout of more than $1.5million for its 2012 harvest by the Fairtrade Coordination Unit.

The group was recently announced as the second sugar producing association in Viti Levu to be given Fairtrade accreditation by the Fairtrade Coordination Unit.

"There's a cost that comes with these sort of agreements and the cost is farmers must follow the rules," said Mr Singh.

"We must meet the requirements that the Fairtrade Coordination Unit has set out for us in order for us to keep reaping the rewards."

Mr Singh said one of the requirements the 6925 farmers of the association had to meet was the proper distribution of wages to labourers.

"Sometimes some of the farmers do not follow the proper procedures when giving out wages to their workers.

"They have to follow the right steps like getting their wages book audited and each worker must sign the wages book before they get their money.

"This is something that we will address when we meet with the farmers.

"This is important for us because if one farmer does not meet the Fairtrade requirements, then the whole association will be penalised which could mean the removal of our premium," said Mr Singh.