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Nov 18, 2010

Cane farmers may soon get paid

alfredo ortega

Tensions have subsided somewhat in the sugar belt where some resolution is in sight to the crisis over delayed third payments to the eight thousand cane farmers. The Social Security Board met late Wednesday evening to work out details that could expedite a ten million dollar loan to the Belize Sugar Industries. The loan already had the nod of the S.S.B., but disbursement had been delayed. From what we gather, the Board is attempting to fast track the loan and will disburse once certain conditions are met; those being a government guarantee and an agreement from B.S.I. and Belize Cane Farmers Association to implement management reform. The funds are expected to be available as early as next week. Chairman of the B.S.C.F.A.’s Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, told us they are not entirely satisfied because a definite date was not set for the payment in their meeting with B.S.I. and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.I.

“It was a very lengthy meeting but it was not fully satisfactory to our expectations in getting a date to when the third payment will be issued to cane farmers. What was gathered is that next week, maybe—it’s not so sure—maybe BSI will be in a position to pay the third payment to cane farmers. According to them, yesterday the board of the SSB met to discuss the loan for BSI and that they will have this morning a response from them and from then on they will see what will be the date when they can pay IF the board meeting goes on in favor to BSI to disburse the loan.”

Delahnie Bain

“You mentioned to me in a previous interview that you all would be seeking interest for the farmers. Was there any decision on that?”

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Yes ma’am, personally I asked the question to Mr. Montalvo and his reply was yes, that they would compensate the farmers on interest from the date that was the eighth of November until the date of disbursement of the final cane payment to farmers. I am somewhat pleased but pleased in one area and not too pleased in the other area because we will be holding our general meeting this Sunday and without having a specific date to present to the farmers when the third payment will be given puts us in a very bad situation.”

Ortega says there is also a new quality assurance agreement between B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I. The farmers will implement control measures for cutting and loading to ensure that the cane is fresh when delivered to the factory while B.S.I. has agreed to mill no less than six thousand tons per day. It was agreed that the next harvest will begin in the first week of December. In the meeting with B.S.I., B.S.C.F.A. and government officials on Wednesday, the ministry also committed to a million dollar grant to assist farmers to meet financial obligations.

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13 Responses for “Cane farmers may soon get paid”

  1. RadicalBelizean says:

    We need to look after our farmers. Don’t take these guys for granted or underestimate their contribution to Belize. Please keep our farmers happy.

  2. javier solis says:

    Let the farmers understand that if they do not fix up their act, this will be the last of BSI.
    Everything is about votes with these spolit farmers. They talk about Belcogen that messed up the crop, then what about the past three crops where cane quality was almost as bad and there was no Belcogen? One bad crop cannot bring down a $150 million industry. Its four successive bad crops that has made BSI lose millions. In the past if the farmers had delivered the same amount of cane as this year (1.123 million tons) they would have processed 120,000 tons sugar instead of 88,000 tons. That created a loss of $32 million in revenues, of which farmers get 65% and BSI 35%. Do the math. But everybody is afraid to bring pressure on the “poor” farmer becasue its 10,000 votes. We will see how many votes there will be if the Factory shuts dow, Those spoilt brats.

  3. rootsman says:

    They also need to return that core sampler that was stolen.

  4. Magnet says:

    2 yrs and chaos will erupt in the whole country,bsi will shut down,citrus can’t sustain bze,maybe if they legalize marijuana.Oh and the farmers they are just lazy compared to 18yrs ago when farmers had some real good crop. Apart from haiti belize will be on the map with the united states taking over control civil war is about to start bze are u ready?

  5. javier solis says:

    The Prime Minister will be at the Cane Farmers AGM today sunday 21 november. I truly hopes he reads them the riot act that they must improve in cane quality. The thing is the cane is rich in the fields but the farmers burn and cut the cane long before delivery. And the cane spoils in the line, not allowing any sugar to be extracted. Any attempt to control the delivery to the factory is met with blocking of gates and the toll bridge. They feel they can deliver any $#!@ to the factory and get paid for it. They are bringing the industry down. They must be brought in line that if the factory can only process 6000 tons cane per day, then thats all that should be cut. Not the ten thousand tons each day as now and have these long lines, then blame the factory! The factory capacity is 6,000/ day. How the hell will they process more? Spoit brats! and both political parties pamper these fools.

  6. RadicalBelizean says:

    Magnet: You constantly call for unrest in Belize, how do you think this will benefit Belize?

  7. javier solis says:

    See what i told you? The farmers meeting broke up without anything being agreed to yesterday, even with PM and DPM there at Escuela Mexico.
    These guys will not commit to a quality control system where only the daily quota of cane should be cut so as to not have long lines of cane spoiling in the sun.
    When any person buys a product he wants to get something of good quality. Why should BSI have to pay for spoilt cane? Then have the place blocked and its own fields burnt?
    There must be a political will by both parties to tell the farmers ” fix up or ship oout of the business”. The cane can be grown by new farmers. These old ones cannot accept times have changed and quality is most important. If the cane is bad so will the sugar be.

  8. realistic says:

    Some people talk only because they have mouth am inviting the fellow that made serious accusations to be the leader of the “new” farmers. You know why you cannot take that challenge because you don’t have the sufficient energy and capability to do so but rather a loud mouth. certainly you will not even last a week!
    If it wasn’t for the cane farmers and BSI, Belize would have been in a worse situation. We must all remember that that the Belize Sugar Industries Ltd along with the cane farmers have generated revenues for the last decades for Belize.
    Moreover, the price per pound of sugar is very expensive in our neighboring countries unlike here we are all enjoying the $0.50 per lb at the hard work of the cane farmers and BSI. Come On lets be realistic here! Belize can only improve if we have people that can think not only “mouth pieces”

  9. Marcos Canul says:

    It’s about time BSI and the farmers have a serious and frank talk on the way forwards for the industry. The blame game will not take us anywhere. Marcos

  10. javier solis says:

    i agree with Marcos. The two sides must sit and agree to improve their performance. If we lose the industry, the North is dead. Gone will be $75 million in circulation every year in the two districts. Look at the 5% final payment. The lateness is causing $3.23 million not being in circulation. Some farmers have had their lights and water cut. But the leaders of the Association have $7 million to burn from Fairtrade. If the leaders do not start to lead, we will return to the livelihood of the 50′s in the North. Wake up your leaders caneros and commit to better quality control and the sugar industry will shine like never before. There is unlimited international market for sugar, but here we are playing games.

  11. Earl Grey says:

    BY THE WAY……………………..

    WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CANE FARMER THAT GOT SHOT AND KILLED during the CORE SAMPLER PROTESTS???????????

    WAS HIS FAMILY COMPENSATED?????????????????????????

    SIMPLE QUESTIONS………

  12. beemtheman says:

    this is what you get for acting like wild animal,you get shot .
    i’m with the police on this one…

  13. beemtheman says:

    look what happened to crocodile farm and people property when police wasnt around.

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