The Fiji Sugar Corporation has refuted claims that a decision by Nestlé’s UK KitKat to take more than a break with Fairtrade will impact Fijian sugarcane farmers.

ABC Australia had reported yesterday that 16,000 Fijian sugar farmers stand to lose nearly 12 million US dollars in annual sugar sales and Fairtrade premiums.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation said in a statement that it does not trade directly with Nestle UK and therefore do not expect any drop in projected exports this year as a result of Nestle UK’s decision.

FSC Graham Clark said in statement that Fiji has not sold Fairtrade sugar to the United Kingdom in the last five years.

In fact, the FSC has 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.

Clark says FSC however continues to sell Fairtrade sugar to some European markets.

The statement went on to say that FSC is very supportive of Fairtrade and bringing added benefit back home as a certified miller and marketer of Fairtrade sugar for Fiji.

Clark says the reference to 16,000 sugarcane farmers in Fiji being impacted is wrong as there are 12,000 sugarcane farmers in Fiji.

The ABC report highlights a potential US$12m 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 US$60 per tonne.

Clark clarified that this is not a Fiji number and that this figure is grossly overstated.

Some customers overseas, Clark says 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 coordinates Fairtrade worldwide.

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