By BBN Staff: Today, the opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) issued a release questioning the freight charges by the Belize Sugar Industry ( BSI) and the American Sugar Refining (ASR).
According to the PUP, the recent analysis of the financial reports submitted by BSI/ASR has unveiled a startling $11 million paid for the transportation of sugar/molasses at Free Alongside Ship (FAS) prices.
“This cost has been passed on to the cane farmers and has negatively affected the price paid per ton of sugarcane delivered. If the sugar is being marketed at FAS prices, then the liability of these costs should go to the buyer and not the seller. Hence, the operational costs of the miller would be reduced and farmers could obtain a higher price per ton of sugarcane,” the PUP added in the release.
On August 1st, 2018, cane farmers in the North received their second payment for cane delivered for the 2017-2018 season.
The PUP says that the price paid per ton this year, at an average of $45 per ton of sugarcane delivered, is dismal and will not allow cane farmers in the North to meet debts and basic cleaning and fertilizing of cane fields.
“Much less, will these prices help farmers and their families survive the remaining months before the next crop begins?”, the PUP asked.
In addition, the PUP learned that Santander is paying cane farmers in the West $55 per ton of delivered sugarcane.
Farmers in the North are now asking the question why is BSI/ASR paying $10 less per ton.
“Both companies sell their sugar in the EU and world market yet there is a big difference in payment per ton of delivered sugarcane.”
The PUP expects to hear very soon from BSI/ASR clarifying these concerns.
In the meantime, the party reminds the various associations and the government-controlled Belize Sugar Industry Control Board that it is their obligation to ensure that cane farmers are, at all times, fairly compensated for their sugarcane.
The PUP says that all parties involved should be mindful that the sugarcane industry is the livelihood of more than 5,000 families in the northern districts, and is the largest and most important single economic activity in the region.
BSI/ASR is yet to respond officially explaining this matter.