Nestle move will not affect farmers – Clark

FSC CEO Graham Clark during a press conference at FSC Head Quarters in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FSC CEO Graham Clark. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

The Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) says sugar exports will not drop despite Nestle UK’s decision to cut ties with the Fairtrade Foundation.

Refuting claims that Fijian sugarcane growers would be affected by the withdrawal, FSC chief executive officer Graham Clark said the miller did not deal directly with Nestle UK.

“Fiji has not sold Fairtrade sugar to the United Kingdom in the last five years,” he said. “In fact, we have noticed a drop in Fairtrade sugar sales worldwide over the years, with standards such as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ being more sought after in niche markets.

“We do continue to sell Fairtrade sugar to some European markets.

“FSC is very supportive of Fairtrade and bringing added benefit back home as a certified miller and marketer of Fairtrade sugar for Fiji.”

Referring to an article by ABC’s Pacific Beat, Mr Clark said there were a few inaccuracies in the report. “I think it’s important, however, to highlight some of the inaccuracies in the news report, including reference to 16,000 sugarcane farmers in Fiji being impacted. We in fact have 12,000 sugarcane farmers in Fiji.

“The report also highlights a potential $US12 million loss in revenue for Fiji sugar due to the Nestle UK decision, which would equate to some 200,000 tonnes of Fairtrade sugar being exported every year at roughly $US60 per tonne. This is not a Fiji number and is grossly overstated.

“Some of our customers overseas do get involved in certifying Fiji sugar as Fairtrade, as they would see the marketing value in doing so for a premium, however, this does not impact the initial procurement of our sugar.

“Fairtrade certification is managed by Fairtrade International, the umbrella NGO that creates the internationally agreed Fairtrade Standards and co-ordinates Fairtrade worldwide.”

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