A site visit was conducted by the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, yesterday at the sugarcane fields of Eastern Laventure Multipurpose Cooperative Society, a certified Fairtrade Cooperative Society, where harvest is being done.
In a statement to the press, Minister Bholah underlined that the objective of the visit was to take note of the status of projects undertaken by the cooperative which regroups more than 170 planters. He highlighted that the cane industry in Mauritius is facing several challenges and increased level of competition adding that support is being provided to planters so that they adapt to the demand for quality organic sugar.
With regard to the Fairtrade certification, he underscored that it is a system run by the company FLO-CERT that sets the norms and standard of production in line with Millennium Development Goals. Cooperatives, he emphasised, are required to respect all social and environmental criteria so as to obtain the Fairtrade certification.
Minister Bholah added that Fairtrade certified cooperatives can benefit from a number of advantages such as minimum Price; premium of $60 per ton of Fairtrade sugar; partnership among certified producers for joint management of Fairtrade International; and empowerment of farmers as well as workers by a democratic structure and transparent functioning.
Moreover, he pointed out that as at date, some 30 cooperative societies are Fairtrade certified and that a cumulative Fairtrade premium to the tune of Rs 331.5 million has already been paid to the Cooperative Credit Societies in Mauritius since 2008. He also urged other cooperative societies to become Fairtrade certified for the members to benefit from development and social projects as well as various facilities.
More about Fairtrade
The Fairtrade, also known as 'commerce equitable', is an alternative model for trade. It is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. Fairtrade offers small producers and workers a better deal and improved terms of trade. It guarantees a minimum price which covers the cost of sustainable production and a Fairtrade premium to be used for economic, environmental and social development.