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BSCFA: ‘Our viability is also important’

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Posted: Thursday, September 2, 2021. 2:10 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) hosted the press virtually to tell its side of the burgeoning dispute with the American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries Limited (ASR/BSI) over the now-terminated commercial agreement.

According to executive director Oscar Alonzo, just as BSI has made investments, so have farmers, and the investments the former have made appear, he said, to be more tailored to their bottomline than to ensuring farmer sustainability. ‘Our viability is also important,’ he said.

Chairman of the BSCFA Committee of Management, Javier Keme, added that the seven-year term of the agreement is too long and does not take into account changes in the support system for sugar.

The BSCFA also wants to look at the value of bagasse, the trash left over from cane production which has been salvaged to be used for electricity generation, for example.

Alonzo said Belize was the first country to put value on the bagasse but there is now an “enabling environment” to review how, for instance, the price of bagasse is tied to the power purchase agreement for BELCOGEN.

Alonzo points out that the current agreement does not expire until January 19, 2022, and if the BSI is up to it, a new one can be reached by December, in time for the start of crop.

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