Stand by sugar cane farmers

A change to EU trade rules is going to push 200,000 people into poverty.

We're campaigning for the European Union to properly protect the livelihoods of sugar farming communities from their damaging decision.


Generations of sugar cane farmers and their families in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries have come to depend on the UK and other European countries buying their sugar. Their access to our markets has been shielded by the EU capping the amount of sugar grown in Europe.

However, the EU has decided to get rid of this cap, and with it the safeguarding of sugar cane farmers’ livelihoods. This damaging decision is going to plunge hundreds of thousands of farmers and their families into poverty, unless the EU acts fast.

We can’t put the cap back on, but we can demand the EU takes proper responsibility for the effects of taking it off.

The EU is providing support to sugar cane farmers affected by the changes. These funds are meant to be helping them either sell their sugar to a  new market, diversify away from farming or set up 'broader development' projects which support them. 

The problem is many vulnerable farmers are not receiving this critical support and can't rescue their livelihoods. 

If we don’t stand up for these farmers and their communities no one else will. 

See the latest news below to find out how the campaign is progressing.

Want to know more? Read about the issue in more detail here. Got a question? Find our FAQs here

Latest news

August 2015

Earlier this year, Fairtrade supporters sent over 75,000 emails to their Members of European Parliament (MEPs). These emails asked MEPs to contact Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Development, about the urgent fact that these vulnerable farmers are not receiving the critical support they were promised so that they can keep earning a living from farming. 

The message was heard loud and clear.

There's been cross-party correspondence from MEPs to Commissioner Mimica on the issue through the European Parliament, with some going further and raising it at the Committee on Development. 

Linda McAvan MEP, the committee's chair, managed to meet with Mimica in May. He acknowledged the issue and agreed to:

1. Ask the Commissioner for Agriculture to investigate the impact the trade changes will have on the amount of sugar that farmers in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries can sell to the EU.

2. Examine whether the money currently set aside for affected sugar cane farmers (known as the 'transitional aid package') has actually helped them rescue their livelihoods, and ensure any remaining money does too. 

Concerned MEPs from the Committee on Development have specifically asked that the way the transitional aid package has been spent is investigated by the European Court of Auditors (effectively the EU’s ‘money inspectors’). 

The campaign has put the issue under the nose of the European Commission. They can’t ignore it now. 

They now need to get a move on so proper support for sugar cane farmers and their families can be put in place before it’s too late. 

We’ll let you know soon how you can help speed things up. 

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