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Dec 16, 2014

Cane farmers to Share $2.5Million

It is unlikely that the sugar cane crop will be able to start on Friday as anticipated. That’s because B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A. have yet to sign the agreement which will govern their relationship for the next seven years. We understand that there still needs to be some modification in areas of the document before the parties sign on. But while that process is stalled, hopefully just temporarily, the disbursement of two point five million dollars is set to get started. It came as a surprise at Sunday’s meeting – a motion that all cane-farmers would get immediate access to two point five million dollars in Fair-trade monies held by the Association. Now that money was put aside for next year, but farmers want it now, and what they want, they get, even if strictly speaking it could get the Association in trouble with Fair-trade.

 

Alfredo Ortega, Member, Negotiating Team, B.S.C.F.A.

Alfredo Ortega

“The economic situation is bad, and the farmers will have approved right now that they will want an amount that was set aside for the next upcoming year in regards to the Fair-trade premium…that they would want two point five million dollars to be distributed among the farmers so that they can have something for Christmas, and they have passed the motion and it is the farmers that approve so that motion has gone and I believe that it will happen.”

 

Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“I am very concerned about that because knowing the standards of Fair-trade there might be some repercussions for us, and we should have maybe stopped this motion but the general assembly voted for that and we will comply, even though we may have some problems with Fair-trade.”

 

Ezekiel Cansino

Alfredo Ortega

“I believe that we should think for the future rather than only thinking for today, having one plate of food for today. I think we should be mature enough to think what we want for the future because as we can see, the vulnerable group within the industry is the farmers, and if we don’t take care of what we have and what we can get then that means that we are only misusing what we have in hand, and we could have gotten out much more benefit if we would have made better decisions for the future.”

 

According to the motion, the money should be disbursed to farmers equally, regardless of the amount of cane that they delivered to the factory last crop. We understand that the signing of checks has already begun.

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