Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2021. 10:36 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Sunday’s statement by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) covered two issues: the amendments to the Sugar Industry Act as well as the decision by the Prime Minister to effectively intervene in the dispute over the Commercial Agreement with Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR).
On the latter, the BSCFA was full of praise for Prime Minister John Briceño’s declaration that the 2021-2022 crop will commence in December 2021. The government has called on both sides to extend the current commercial agreement through the end of the forthcoming season and negotiate a new one during that time frame while allowing farmers to deliver cane in what is a bumper crop.
The Association also gives kudos to Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai, “for revitalizing the agriculture and rural sectors, that were neglected over the past decade, through increased markets, investments, technical assistance, job creation and income generation.”
But it also recommends some next steps, including “the modernization of the sugar industry act inclusive of establishment of an independent marketing committee, the improvement of the infrastructure to facilitate the harvesting and delivery of cane to the mill and the availability of affordable credit facilities to finance increased cost of agricultural inputs and labour.”
BSI/ASR, which has been insistent on the status quo, has not publicly responded thus far.
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