Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2021. 7:04 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) says it finds “untenable” and “not fair” the latest proposals by Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) to resolve the commercial agreement impasse.
In a statement, the BSCFA said BSI proposed a 60 to 40 ratio across the board in respect of raw sugar sold to the European Union market, but keep the current 65 to 35 ratio on Net Stripped Value (NSV) for raw sugar sold in the United States and direct consumption sugar. Such a structure, BSCFA claims, would limit profit accrued to farmers in favour of the mill.
The sides are also at odds on the length of the agreement – seven years for BSI, about half that for BSCFA. The Association says the shorter term recognizes “the constantly changing economic and social realities currently faced by the industry and its stakeholders and made more difficult by the COVID 19 pandemic, that would ensure greater sustainability to all stakeholders and not just to a few.”
A proposal to implement a BSI-managed
management information system starting with the 2021/2022 crop would duplicate the system being implemented by the Sugar Industry Control Board
In conclusion the BSCFA states that they “are not prepared to sign any agreement based on these proposals as presented by BSI as it would still not resolve the longstanding issue of the transparent availability of all information necessary to verify the costs that underpin the NSV structure.”
And it fears BSI is trying to impose its will by insisting on a full agreement on terms unacceptable to BSCFA rather than take the Government offer to sign instead a one-year interim agreement to enable negotiations for a new agreement to be concluded.
It calls on Government to commit BSI to an interim agreement while itself committing to continuing negotiations on a full agreement.
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