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‘Serious discussions’ ongoing to solve sugar impasse, Cabinet briefed

Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2023. 3:54 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Chair of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Sugar, Kareem Musa, reports that “serious discussions between parties” – namely, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) – “are ongoing based on good faith, and not tension” to solve the impasse within the industry.

Musa and colleagues Jose Abelardo Mai and Oscar Mira are tasked with charting a path forward for the sugar industry and briefed the Cabinet this week.

According to Musa, both sides have expressed the determination to reach a fair and transparent resolution to the impasse for the good of the industry.

The sub-committee is concerned primarily with brokering a solution to the outstanding commercial agreement between the sides that governs purchases and sales of sugar cane and sugar. The BSCFA is asking for a revised formula based on gross profits rather than the net stripped value (NSV), including BSI/ASR assuming costs for aspects of production currently met by farmers. It also wants bagasse, the leftovers from sugar production, to be valued for its use in producing electricity. BSI/ASR for its part has been resistant to both.

The other half of the equation is a planned Commission of Inquiry into the industry which will look at overall management and development of the industry in order to increase efficiency in production and profits for all.

 

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