The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association are all Fair Trade certified. Fair Trade has very stringent standards as it relates to children working in the Sugar Industry. Therefore, in order to ensure that the standards are being met a research was undertaken, which was launched today. Love News spoke with Zune Canche, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association.
Zune Canche – Acting CEO, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association: Fair Trade has some very strict standards in regard to the use of child labour in production and so this came about because the methodology that was used to implement this project was pretty much one created by fair trade international in order to be able to monitor for child labor and to be able to respond to child labor; not only monitor because sometimes we tend to identify but then we don’t act to protect and deal and see how we can address and protect the child so what this methodology looks at is not only the aspect of identifying but also finding ways to remediate or withdraw the child if encountered so that’s how you hear in the presentations about Fair trade because we also have to ensure that we are compliant with their standards.
Johnelle Mckenzie: What has the Sugar Industry done in research to find out how many children are working in the industry.
Zune Chanche – Acting CEO, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association: Currently this is beginning of those kind of research. We can’t say for now how many but we hope that with this that we have; the research. It helps Government to also invest in similar research so that we could establish a more clear picture of what really is any numbers or findings but I think the focus is not generally just to find the numbers but also for government along with identification or our research to establish numbers is to be able to set in place a system that will respond to those. That is what we want to be able to achieve.
Canche said that a presentation was made to the government at today’s launch based on the research conducted. The event was carried out under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar.