18 Aug 2015

UK company stops buying Fiji's fairtrade sugar

2:14 pm on 18 August 2015

The UK based sugar buyer Tate & Lyle says it is no longer buying fairtrade sugar from Fiji because of a dramatic fall in sales of the brand.

It says it only made the decision after considering every possible alternative.

Tate & Lyle Sugar say dramatic changes taking place in the European Union sugar market have caused its sales of fairtrade sugar to drop considerably.

It says this decline is due to several market-related factors including an increase in supply of fairtrade sugar to the EU from other places and severe pressure on EU sugar pricing more generally.

A villager in the cane fields near Lautoka, Fiji

A villager in the cane fields near Lautoka, Fiji Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

The company says its decision to stop purchasing sugar on fair trade terms from Fiji is in no way a reflection on the performance of producer groups in the country.

About 13 thousand producers and their dependents are expected to lose out on fairtrade premiums which amount to nearly 13 million US dollars.

The extra money has been used to develop farms, subsidise costs and provide aid to communities in areas like education.