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Sugar cane farmers paid the highest prices in five years as BSI/ASR makes pitch to keep commercial arrangement

Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2022. 11:38 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) on Monday paid out $13.37 per tonne of sugar cane delivered, which is 65 percent of the net stripped value (NSV) after reconciliation of sales, to farmers in Corozal and Orange Walk.

This is the third and final payment for farmers for the concluded 2021-2022 season, derived from the overall final price of $70.78, an increase of $16.22 or 30 percent from 2021 and the highest the industry has seen in five years. The first two payments are based on calculations of the estimated production quantity and the world market price. The final payment is made after the reconciliation of all sales.

BSI/ASR credits both their investments to improve raw sugar and molasses efficiencies, the increase in direct consumption sugar production, and improved world sugar prices as well as higher cane quality by farmers, with a tons cane/tons sugar ratio (TC/TS) of 9.28 compared to 9.78 in the previous season.

And, perhaps trying to tip the scales in their ongoing dispute with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Tower Hill makes the point that “The current commercial agreement between BSI and the farmers continues to be fair and favourable. Both value-added earnings and improved logistic savings are shared with farmers and reflected in the improved cane price. This year’s cane price payment is the highest since the 2017 EU market changes removed Belize’s preferential pricing and the fourth highest since 2000.”

BSCFA has disagreed, saying it wants BSI to take on its fair share of costs for producing sugar instead of passing them on to farmers, and pay for its usage of bagasse (leftovers from production) to run the Tower Hill cogeneration plant. Both sides were at last report searching for an independent arbitrator to provide a way forward with just about a month to go to the traditional opening of the crop.

 

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