BA cane farmers have called for wider consultations on the use of Fairtrade premiums to ensure the broader community benefits instead of one particular sector.
Arun Prasad, a cane grower and advisory councillor for Naloto and Nukuloa, said while many growers welcomed news from the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association that $2.1million in Fairtrade premiums could be expected next year, they were concerned that not everyone was being assisted.
"When the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association announced the establishment of a pension scheme for farmers aged 70 and more, the assistance offered only went to 10 per cent of the cane growing community," he said.
"When you take into account that 680 aged growers are receiving the pension from Fairtrade premiums out of a total membership of more than 6000, this is an indicator that only a fraction of the cane farming community is benefiting.
"Fairtrade premiums should benefit the wider community and not just a small section."
Mr Prasad said the association should take into account that assisting members to increase production would equate to an increase in Fairtrade premiums and more benefits to the wider community.
He said growers could be assisted on their crop yields through low interest loans to help land preparation, as well as through subsidies on weedicide and fertiliser