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BSI/ASR proposes another interim agreement to get sugar crop started

Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2022. 1:50 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) has suggested to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) that a two-year interim agreement on the same terms as that in place last season be signed, so that the crop season is no longer delayed.

The Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) has suggested a start date of December 27 for the season pending agreement by both sides.

In an official statement, BSI/ASR says this will “provide time for further consideration of alternative approaches and to ensure BSCFA farmers are able to deliver their cane and avoid any further delays to the crop and damage to the economy of Belize.”

BSI/ASR maintains that the demands of the BSCFA since the expiration of the most recent commercial agreement “would transfer massive value from the mill to farmers and would make the sugar mill financially unviable,” and says it has not “sought any additional advantage, financial or otherwise, from BSCFA.”

The miller argues that its investments “helped increase the cane price by 30 percent over last crop’s payment. This year, cane prices are predicted to be similarly favorable” and that additional fiscal processes are available to provide the Association, still the industry’s largest representative of farmers, with the certainty and transparency it claims are currently missing.

Tower Hill also declares it is ready as soon as the SICB gives the word, even though the remaining cane farmer associations, representing about half of the total sugar cane to be milled have standing agreements to deliver cane and are prepared to do so but for the BSCFA/BSI dispute.

The BSI statement concludes, “Every day that passes is a lost opportunity for the industry and the national economy, recognizing the important role of the sugar industry in supporting the livelihoods of so many people and the benefits it brings to the national economy, including the provision of 15 percent of Belize’s electricity needs from renewable energy.”

We await any response from the BSCFA and others.

 

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