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Battle lines drawn in sugar industry: BSCFA tells farmers not to deliver cane under “open agreement,” BSI/ASR says they will receive fair payment

Posted: Saturday, December 23, 2023. 5:01 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Will there be disruption to the planned start of the 2023-2024 sugar crop?

Following Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR)’s announcement of the start of the season on December 28 on Friday, with an “open agreement” with farmers allied with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), the Association has hit back.

The BSCFA cited “legal advice” it had obtained which it said suggested that farmers delivering without a commercial agreement between the BSCFA and BSI/ASR makes that farmer an “individual farmer,” essentially severing them from the BSCFA.

Meanwhile, BSI/ASR in a notice of its own said it had confirmed with farmers reaching out to them to clarify terms of the open agreement that “BSCFA members will receive the same payment for their cane as all other farmers.”

But BSCFA is convinced that the millers are continuing to try to break the Association and have strongly urged farmers “NOT TO DELIVER ANY CANE on the 28th of December 2023” to Tower Hill.

The Association added that “We are working around the clock with the Ministerial Subcommittee to address the signing of the Commercial Agreement…Let’s remain firm, together and united!”

While the BSCFA remains the largest association, the other major associations have their agreements signed with BSI/ASR and would be prepared to start the crop on Wednesday.

 

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