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Fiji Time: 5:34 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Fairtrade benefits 4000 farmers

Salaseini Moceiwai
Thursday, January 09, 2014

ABOUT 4000 canefarmers on Vanua Levu have benefited from the sale of 60,000 tonnes of sugar worth $3.6million under the Fairtrade Certification protocol.

British High Commissioner Roderick Drummond told this newspaper in Labasa yesterday the farmers were part of the 15,000 cane producers identified nationwide for the assistance.

Fairtrade is a global certification organisation that encourages growers to plant and harvest cane ethically according to strict guidelines, which include the non-use of child labour and chemical fertilisers.

In return, growers receive a premium price for their sugar, which is in addition to the price the FSC negotiates for growers in a particular area.

"There are 15,000 cane producers in the country who have benefited from this Fairtrade sugar assistance and we are happy to know that farmers in the North are making good use of the funds," Mr Drummond said.

"Farmers are buying new crops, equipment and other farming-related tools to help them in their farms and this is made possible through such funding assistance.

"Right now, most of them are clearing their farms and replanting cane crops."

Mr Drummond said he met some farmers in Macuata and was impressed with the progress of their farms.

"This is my first visit to the North and is a familiarisation trip with specific interest in the sugar industry."