The chairman of the Mauritius Fair-trade Federation Cooperative Ltd. (MFFC), Sooriadehoo Punchu, said on Thursday that the fair-trade movement is gaining popularity in the island with some 27 cooperative societies certified under the label of fair-trade for sugar production as compared to the 5 societies recorded in 2009.
He was speaking to farmers at a training-workshop for the sustainability of fair-trade certification.
“Many small cane growers have abandoned their sugar plantations since the decrease of 36% in sugar price a few years back. Fair-trade certification is an incentive for them to remain in production as they get an additional sum of US$ 60 per ton of sugar produced,” he said.
Punchu indicated that members of the movement produced about 21,000 tons of sugar under the fair-trade certification.
“We encourage our members to work in clusters so as to share experience from peer group,” he added.
The chairman of the MFFC said that under the fair-trade certification, small sugar producers develop good agricultural practices under which they provide measures to improve soil fertility, develop understanding and skills on safe use of pesticides including disposal of empty pesticide containers and develop also an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan for sugar cane production.
The objectives of the fair-trade certification are many fold. They include sharing the profits among its members, development of land and better methods of cultivation, adding value to the products, marketing all produce in accordance with the objectives, increase profitability, strengthen the value chain and develop strategic partnerships.
Punchu said the main benefits of the fair-trade certification are stable price for sugar, premium for development, empowerment of workers and partnership.
The audit certification is carried out by an international organisation called FLO-CERT.