Fairtrade sugar producers export a lot of their product to the UK and other European countries. As a result they have had successful businesses, and earned a fair price and Fairtrade premium. This was helped by a cap placed by the European Union to limit the amount of sugar which can be grown in Europe, and it served as a safeguard for sugar producers in developing countries.
Unfortunately the EU has proposed that they remove this cap which would put these farmers' livelihoods at risk. The proposed changes could flood the market with sugar beet and drive down the prices of sugar.
Charles Chavi, the Trust Administrator of the Kasinthula Cane Growers' Association of Malawi, recently spoke at the Scottish Parliament about this issue. He said that the EU was the single most important export market for farmers in his community and therefore, if it goes ahead, puts these Fairtrade farmers at risk of losing their market.
There is a chance to stop this change from occuring. You can contact your MEP (Member of European Parliament) and urge them to stop this from being approved. Only together can we ensure that these farmers and their communities continue to get a fair price for their product.
For more information on this topic, and how to contact your MEP, please visit the Fairtrade Foundation website.