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Jul 2, 2014

BSI and BSCFA still at odds over bagasse

The crop season started with an uneasy truce between BSI and the BSCFA, based on commitments in good faith to immediately commence negotiations on bagasse payment. Those negotiations were to have concluded by the end of the season. Now the season ends in a few days, so that will not happen. The farmers asked for ten dollars per ton of bagasse, and BSI is offering fifty-one cents per ton. That’s not even close to meeting halfway, and BSI has said that Belcogen is just not in a financial position for a better offer to be made. BSI says that the BSCFA is being unreasonable, and the BSCFA says that BSI needs to get serious.

 

Alfredo Ortega, Vice-Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA

Alfredo Ortega

“I believe that taking into account the forecast of what will happen in 2017, that is why we are negotiating with them in regards to this bagasse as a by-product…where the farmers can have the opportunity to get at least an extra on their sugar-cane product. We have been working very diligently and yes we are taking into account what will transpire from now to that time, but we need to first clarify this issue with the bagasse, and this is where BSI has been turning around and around the table, not coming around to let us clarify the issue so we can move forward to the other situation that we need to walk together. Because there are certain things that as an industry we need to hold hands and carry on, but we first need to clear off our differences in regards to benefits, because they are the ones benefitting presently hundred percent on the use of the bagasse as a by-product. The farmers are not getting anything. So we need to clear that portion first. Because how is it that I can walk with you hand to hand when you are trying to hold my hands and slap me with the other hand? That cannot happen. We need to be clear and we need to be satisfied that I am not taking advantage of you and you are not taking advantage of me. We are working together as one industry and we are trying to get the most benefit that we can.”

 

The BSCFA will be holding a general meeting with cane farmers soon to discuss the way forward.

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