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16,000 Fijian sugar farmers impacted by a decision by Nestlé

July 3, 2020 9:04 am
Nestlé's UK KitKat brand has decided to take more than a break with Fairtrade in a move that will impact 16,000 Fijian sugar farmers who stand to lose nearly $US12 million in annual sugar sales and Fairtrade premiums.[Source: abc.net.au]

Nestlé’s UK KitKat brand has decided to take more than a break with Fairtrade in a move that will impact 16,000 Fijian sugar farmers who stand to lose nearly $US12 million in annual sugar sales and Fairtrade premiums.

ABC’s Pacific Beat reports that the UK’s Nestlé KitKat brand started its association with the independent non-profit organisation, which ensures farmers and workers get a fair deal, in 2009

The move, which has been described as ‘profoundly disappointing’ by critics, has come at a time of great uncertainty for global sugar markets.

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Fijian sugar farmer and President of the Labasa Cane Producers Association Mohammaed Rafiq says most of the farmers are small producers who are dependent on their sugarcane farms to earn a living – it will be very difficult for them to survive.

Sugar farmers across 38 Fijian villages will be impacted as they lose both the US$9.9 million in sugar sales the deal provided but, also the additional US$1.39 million a year in Fairtrade premiums.

The CEO of Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, Molly Harriss Olson, says the combined loss of sugar sales and Fairtrade premiums is a huge blow to the Fijian farming community.

Harriss Olson says in this global pandemic time when general economic situations in the world are very insecure it puts these farmers in a vulnerable position.

In a statement provided to Pacific Beat from Nestlé, they say it is now sourcing almost all Nestlé UK & Ireland sugar from UK sugar producers, with the remainder coming from Europe.”

Nestlé says they have provided a transitional support fund of nearly $US125 thousand to Fairtrade sugar producers in Fiji and Malawi who have been impacted by the change.

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