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May 29, 2018

P.U.P.’s Jose Mai Sides with Cane Farmers

Jose Mai

The Opposition People’s United Party has weighed in on the topic, from differing angles. Orange Walk South area rep Jose Mai, who is a cane farmer and staunch supporter of the established northern cane production, argues that Santander’s move is wrong on two fronts: in the eyes of the law, where their status as an export processing zone contradicts Section fifty-nine of the Sugar Industry Act; and in the spirit of competition with industry behemoths A.S.R./B.S.I., which does not have similar status and is thus at a disadvantage.

 

Jose Mai, Area Rep., Orange Walk South

“Santander is also governed by the EPZ regulations; they hold an EPZ status which says that you are not allowed to sell locally, because you are at a comparative advantage, especially with ASR, because ASR does not have EPZ status. I made the example of Fruta Bomba; when they were producing papayas; they had EPZ status but they were also selling rejected papayas on the local market, but in the absence of competition. So instead of dumping the papayas, you sell it locally and you process it and add value and generate income, which is a good thing. But in this specific case, where your competitor has five thousand cane farmers, and you have a tax-free advantage, then I think that is unfair to the cane farmers, and I don’t think that the minister should do so, you’re sacrificing five thousand farmers.”

 

Aaron Humes

“So you believe they should not be allowed to sell, Santander?”

 

Jose Mai

“I will bat for the five thousand cane farmers in the North, I will bat for them. We have always supported the farmers; the farmers in the North right now are taking a beating; they can’t even meet the harvesting costs. I’m harvesting cane at this time and I am negative one dollar and fifty cents right now, and that is the situation all over the North. So if Santander had planned to market sugar locally, they ought not to have requested for EPZ status. It’s simple.”

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