The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC) held its annual meeting in Corozal Town, Belize on May 28-30, 2014.
Fairtrade certified sugar cane farmers from Belize, Cuba, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Jamaica, and Guyana met to exchange experiences, discuss their challenges and receive feedback from fellow cane farmers on how to deal with these challenges. As the majority of these cane farmers belong to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, which is directly associated with the European Common Agricultural Policy Reform, cane producers from Mauritius and Fiji were also invited to the meeting. Fairtrade officials also attended the meeting since it was also organized in conjunction with the Fair Trade International- Global Product Management. Several representatives from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association participated in this meeting.
As small sugar cane farmers face similar challenges around the world, participants looked at how they can take their future into their hands, and become ready especially for the new environment to be created in the European Union beyond 2017. Participants agreed to use sugar specific indicators which can be measured to demonstrate impact and achievements and assist them in lowering their costs of production and achieve efficiency. With the assistance of Fairtrade/Producer Network Support, participants also agreed to involve millers, research institutes and other relevant stakeholder institutions to assist them in their new initiatives to begin to implement the specific indicators.
The meeting concluded successfully with a field tour where participants were able to observe harvesting practices carried out in Belize. Participants departed for their respective countries with a commitment to strengthen the relationships and solidarity among cane farmers around the world.