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BSI/ASR accuses BSCFA of “threatening to disrupt the start of 2021-22 sugar cane crop”

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Posted: Friday, December 17, 2021. 3:21 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) has hit back at the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), saying their meeting on Thursday ended in “threats of intimidation” about not participating in the start of the crop this coming Monday.

In a statement, the millers say that the caneros insisted on a signed interim agreement to start the season, after notice of termination of the current commercial agreement in August which officially ends in January.

BSI/ASR maintains that BSCFA has “no rationale for this position, as BSCFA farmers have an existing and enforceable contract until 19 January 2022, obliging them to deliver and sell sugarcane to BSI and giving ample time for the parties to conclude negotiations on a new commercial agreement. BSI is not prepared to accept an interim agreement because it is unnecessary and counterproductive to concluding a negotiation. We reiterate that no farmer will be disadvantaged, if for whatever reason an agreement is not signed by 19 January, farmers are welcome to sign individual agreements.”

BSI/ASR says it would like to reiterate that it “has no intention to disadvantage any cane farmer, hence the reason why BSI went the extra mile to consider, sensibly and seriously, the BSCFA proposal to move away from Net Stripped Value (NSV) concept,” and points to the three other associations—Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA), Northern Sugar Cane Growers Association (NSCGA), and Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association (PSCPA)— which have contracts to start the crop and with BSI represent approximately 50 percent of the cane supply (BSCFA members have the other 50 percent).

Therefore, says BSI, it will open the crop on the date agreed by all stakeholders. All farmers have commercial agreements for the start of the crop, including the BSCFA, and consequently, BSI will receive cane from all cane farmers who deliver cane on Monday.

 

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