What We Certify


The sweet taste of sugar may hide the unsavoury reality of a highly competitive industry that leaves small-scale farmers vulnerable to market pressures.

My father was one of the first members of the Manduvirá Cooperative. Now we have our own production line for sugar. Before we only cultivated, now we are producers.


All about Sugar

About 175 million tonnes of sugar are produced each year. The majority of that comes from sugar cane, with sugar beets in second place. Fairtrade works with small-scale sugar cane farmers to improve their bargaining position as well as their businesses and communities.

Global sugar markets fluctuate wildly, though prices have fallen consistently over the last decade. Industrial-scale plantations dominate the market, and government subsidies in some countries restrict trade. When market prices drop, small-scale farmers are marginalized and unable to earn a living income from their harvests – leading sugar to be called the ‘hunger crop’ in many countries.

How Fairtrade works

In addition to unpredictable market prices, the effects of climate change have also devastated many sugar farmers, with unpredictable weather threatening their yields farming regions.

Fairtrade works with small-scale sugar cane farmers, especially in Paraguay – the leading producer of Fairtrade sugar, to expand their access to global markets and find new opportunities for sales. The Fairtrade Sourced Ingredient (FSI) model, developed by Fairtrade International in 2014, has expanded the use of Fairtrade certified sugar in new product areas that might not have been possible before, ultimately leading to higher sales for farmers.

Due to market distortions caused by subsidies, and supply chain complexities, there is no Fairtrade Minimum Price for sugar. However, a high Fairtrade Premium allows cane farmers to invest in projects like sustainable production, crop diversification, and climate change resilience.

Where to find Fairtrade Sugar

We’re proud to work with Canadian companies who choose to source Fairtrade. Now you can support your local brands dedicated to making trade fair by shopping Fairtrade local.

The Fairtrade Impact

Fairtrade can make a real difference for farmers and workers, their families, and their wider communities.

Producer Group Profile – Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association

Francisco Hernandez cuts sugar cane at the plot of local BSCFA member Leocadio Hoy.

Established in 1960, it now has a membership of more than 5,000 cane growers. All their cane is sold to the country’s only mill, operated by Belize Sugar Industries Ltd.

Read more about the cooperative, the impact of Fairtrade Premium investments, and farmer stories

Learn more with these recent stories about Fairtrade sugar: