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Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association calls for Government intervention in stalled Commercial Agreement negotiations

Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2022. 5:04 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Both sides had been keeping quiet since they went into negotiations six months ago, but the end of the sugar crop season ends without a Commercial Agreement between Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) in many a year.

And to get one in time for the new season, Chairman of the BSCFA Andy Westby told Breaking Belize News (BBN) this afternoon, it will take an intervention from the Government of Belize.

While the current lapsed agreement was extended through the end of July and covers the first payment of the new season to farmers in November, according to Westby, negotiations with BSI/ASR have not been held “in good faith” at the table.

The primary sticking point remains BSCFA’s requests for a split of profits 60 to 40 on the gross value of the cane before costs for marketing, shipping, etcetera rather than what remains, known as the Net Stripped Value (NSV). Westby said BSI/ASR has suggested that BSCFA retain an auditor to look at their figures but appears unwilling to budge from its position.

Westby assessed the state of play as “back to square one” and is hoping that the Government’s intervention will get the company to see that this redistribution of profits is “just” for both farmer and miller, not the “taking advantage” that he sees in the lapsed agreement.

BSI/ASR has not presented its side of the story but we will put the questions to them at Friday’s close-of-crop ceremony in Orange Walk.

 

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