Barbara Crowther Fairtrade Foundation
Sir; This year's Fairtrade Fortnight, which finishes this weekend, has been our biggest and best yet, with thousands of events taking place all of the UK. One highlight has been the commitment by Tate & Lyle to convert 100% of its retail branded sugar to Fairtrade ('Fairtrade movement gets a big sweetener', The Grocer, 1 March, p31). This is exceptionally sweet news for the 6,000 small-scale growers in the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers' Association, who will be the first to benefit from the additional Fairtrade premiums of $60 per tonne it will generate. About 70,000 tonnes of certified sugar from Belize is expected to be involved in the first phase of the programme, yielding Fairtrade premiums of $4m for investment by farming communities in the first year alone. Waitrose and Nisa stores will be the first to stock Tate & Lyle Fairtrade white granulated sugar. This move comes at a critical time for the farmers and the whole Belizean sugar industry, which faces challenges from changes to the EU Sugar Regime, and from Hurricane Dean, which devastated farms in the region in 2007.