Sugar industry stakeholders say that Fairtrade premiums will not affect their decision to seek other buyers for raw sugar if the price offered by Tate and Lyle Sugars does not meet expectations.
In an interview, FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan said any decision made by the industry would be in the best interest of growers and the miller.
“Whatever decision we make regarding buyers has got to ensure the best value for our product,” Mr Khan said.
“Fairtrade is a huge help as far as the industry goes but it does not have a direct impact in what we pay the farmers or what we as the miller or producer of sugar gets.”
Mr Khan said while the decision to stay with Tate and Lyle hinged heavily on the fact that the UK buyer had a significant market for Fairtrade sugar, there could be a move to another buyer if a better price could be negotiated with Fairtrade premiums attached.
“We have got to find a good price for our sugar and at the same time, a fair premium from Fairtrade.”
Mr Khan said under the agreement with the EU, Fiji could sell raw sugar to other buyers within the union.
“Tate and Lyle Sugars aren’t the only buyers in the EU — there are a number of buyers like Agrana, British Sugars Napier Brown within the EU.
“And any one of them can buy our sugar as long as it goes into the EU.
“Obviously, we have the world market as well but the reason why the EU is important to us is because they provide us duty-free entry and a quota that actually gives us a premium price, which is a reference price so we know that if nothing else, we will get that reference price, whereas the world market price can be quite volatile as it is at the moment.”
BY: FIJI TIMES