Cane producers association suspended

The Fiji Sugar Corporation is keen to continue pursuing Asian markets for raw sugar. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association has been suspended by FloCERT – the Fairtrade certifying organisation that helped farmers earn millions for community development projects through the sale of sugar to Fairtrade markets.

RPCPA president Jinend Singh was, however, optimistic the association should be re-certified soon.

“There were a number of non-compliances and that had resulted in the association being suspended,” he said.

“However, FloCERT has conducted an audit and we have successfully managed non-compliances and should be re-certified soon.”

Mr Singh said issues left behind by the previous administrator had been rectified.

The FloCERT suspension brings to three the number of times the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association has been de-certified in the past four years.

Internal bickering within the growers organisation resulted in the association being suspended in 2015 and 2016.

Cane producers associations were formed post-2006 to allow canefarmers access to funds through the sale of Fairtrade sugar to niche markets in Europe.

The cane producer associations were formed and certified by FloCERT after meeting stringent requirements set out by Fairtrade.