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Nov 12, 2013

Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association threatens to stop cane deliveries to B.S.I.

Relations between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industry are tonight sour.  B.S.I., on Monday, said that it will not engage in revenue sharing discussions in respect of bagasse. Since December of last year, BSCFA and B.S.I. have been negotiating a business and bargaining agreement, but back in September, BSCFA walked away from the negotiating table when B.S.I. refused to address the issue of a share of economic benefits procured by B.S.I. from the use of bagasse, a by-product of the sugar cane used as a bio-fuel for BELCOGEN. The farmers contend that B.S.I. has been raking in millions from a fifteen year contract signed with Belize Electricity Limited to provide electricity to the national grid. According to C.E.O. of the BSCFA, Oscar Alonso, they are prepared to stop cane deliveries if B.S.I. continues to act in bad faith.

 

Oscar Alonso, C.E.O., Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association

Oscar Alonso

“We’ve had the divisional meetings of two of our divisions on the second of November and the tenth of November. On the second of November the Orange Walk division members met and on the tenth the Corozal divisions met and both of them passed a resolution. They gave us the mandate that we should not sign any agreement with B.S.I. unless we get an agreement on the payment of bagasse. And in the failure…if we do not get it before the beginning of crop, then they will not commence the crop, begin to deliver. That is the mandate that has been given.  At the moment, the agreement calls for the cane price based on the sales of sugar and molasses. But in that same agreement has twenty-nine pages and on page twenty-nine, there is a clear statement there that binds both parties to come to the table and discuss or negotiate any by-product that will have commercial value and that based on those discussions then we will share the revenues from the proceeds of those by-products. But B.S.I. is saying is that they have invested in BELCOGEN and as such we don’t have any right to any return on the profit and it is that investment that created the value of the bagasse. We are saying that you are wrong B.S.I.; it is not your investment that has created that value. The value has always been there. You have used part of that bagasse to provide energy to your plant to produce sugar and molasses and we have also been used by farmers to spread in our fields for fertilizer and the rest has been disposed of—burning so as not to contaminate the environment. But it is the market that has created that value of the bagasse. Without that market, B.S.I. would not have made that investment.  When I say the market, you are talking about a guaranteed market also. There is a fifteen year power purchase agreement between B.E.L. and BELCOGEN for them to supply B.E.L. with thirteen point five to sixteen mega watts of electricity. There is also a power supply and steam supply agreement between B.S.I. and BELCOGEN for BELCOGEN to supply nine mega watts of energy to B.S.I.  So that then adds up to about twenty-five and their capacity is at about thirty-two mega watts of energy that they can produce. So that market then enables B.S.I. to determine what size of investment they need to take. We now have a new set of executives that come in and try to interpret that according to their own personal discretion. No…that is intolerable; that is unfair. What we are simply saying, let’s stick to what is provided in the existing agreement. Let us sit down and negotiate. Don’t come and turn around and say look, we only take the first twenty-eight pages of the agreement and forget about the twenty-ninth page. When ASR came in, we extended them a hand. We accepted their entry in the good faith that we will develop good working condition. In fact, before they even came and presented proposal of what they intended to do, we alerted them to the fact that look you are buying this factory with this agreement. This agreement calls for the negotiation of a new agreement and also for the bagasse. You are fully aware of that. They said don’t worry, we are going to respect whatever agreements exists. So that undertaking was given and we have it in writing afterwards in a subsequent letter where they said that they will respect the agreement. Now don’t tell me that you are telling me that at the time for us to ease your entry into the industry and now once you are inside now, you are turning around giving me the hatchet blow. Now that is not…and if that is how multinationals operate—dirty business—where they are not trying to take into account good faith, expressions of relationships; well then we are in serious problem. Who is destroying the industry then? Is it us or them?”

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10 Responses for “Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association threatens to stop cane deliveries to B.S.I.”

  1. melinda says:

    Lets do some math here. sugar cane is made up of 70% water 15% sucrose and 15% fiber(bagasse). it takes seven tons of cane to make one ton of baggase. so if they are asking $10 more for ton of cane, then they will get $70 for each ton of bagasse made. thats the same price they are gettting for a ton of cane. are they saying that the waste product is valued at the same price of cane? thats foolishness, since sugar generates ten times as much money as bagasse. whats wrong with this communist? he wants to reap where he did not sow? what the cane farmers want is free money. as to the the “farmer” who died with the core sampler issue, he was no farmer. he was a drunkin man given rum by the PUP rep in orange walk to create trouble. alonzo is leading my fellow farmers astray and should be fired and his $100,000 salary put to good use like buying fertalizer for poor farmers.

  2. javier says:

    Lets do some math here. sugar cane is made up of 70% water 15% sucrose and 15% fiber(bagasse). it takes seven tons of cane to make one ton of baggase. so if they are asking $10 more for ton of cane, then they will get $70 for each ton of bagasse made. thats the same price they are gettting for a ton of cane. are they saying that the waste product is valued at the same price of cane? thats foolishness, since sugar generates ten times as much money as bagasse. whats wrong with this communist? he wants to reap where he did not sow? what the cane farmers want is free money. as to the the “farmer” who died with the core sampler issue, he was no farmer. he was a drunkin man given rum by the PUP rep in orange walk to create trouble

  3. Ricky Malthus says:

    Mr. Alonzo should not have extended his hand in good faith but should have rejected the monopoly provided to ASR. Consequently, the Caneros cannot sell nor export their cane but to ASR. So the Caneros strike but must return to sell to the same vomit. So the monopoly must be changed to democratic, open and fair competition. So the Caneros must open their own sugar factory to mill and export their harvest to whomever they want, and forget about Barrow, the UDP, and ASR. Now do you see and agree that monopolies are detrimental to the development and growth of the country?

  4. dre says:

    Why do people feel they are entitled to things that dont belong to them? I agree with BSI. You dont deserve a penny. You provide a product and get paid for that product. Now you think you have rights to the end product?

  5. Louisville,Ky says:

    At first, I commented on this situation up North based mostly on my emotions as a Belizean and to give moral support to the Caneros. But now, after Mr. Oscar’s explanation and understanding the content of page 29 of the binding agreement, I am 100%, both emotionally and technically, behind our Cane Farmers.
    We need not be surprised with the behavior of BSI and ASR as that’s typical of how these multi-national corporations conduct business.
    Their modus-operandi: Squeeze out as much as they can and give back as little as they have to.

  6. Belizean says:

    BSCFA wants to be spoon fed in every way. They want anything and everything to be “GIVEN” to them. This is BS. This is exactly what will cause ASR to pak up and leave. Then what? BSI has been running on GOB bailouts for years..Finally theres someone with brains investing, making something out of it, squeezing at least a little more out of the company to get it going. Come on Belize, can we not look a little further?

  7. Belizean says:

    Javier and dRE THEY have good insight into this matter. These so-called cane farmers are not farmers. When they get their seeds, fertilizer etc subsidized, they go and sell that for beer. This is just how those guys work. They willfully squander the goodness that has been afforded them BY GOB AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY AND GOD!!

  8. David says:

    Canton’s CPBL in the citrus industry is far worse.
    Not only do farmers not get paid even close to the internationally published price per pound solids for citrus, they gey nothing for the ‘value added’ products while they gamed the CGA to the offshore Bluewater/ICL corporate entity, make secret deals behind closed doors, money launder the proceeds while continuing to bankrupt the farmers in the process and establish red tape and paid off ‘authorities’ to prevent the farmers from establishing farming cooperatives in order to achieve a higher price by means of export. There are far too many criminal enterprises in Belize that has made this country a living hellish nightmare though when the people act as subjects, what are they to expect? I believe Delta force should be called in to Clean Ship as-soon-as-possible though that won’t be necessary in the Very near future anyhow. You will See soon enough. TOO many investors have been scammed and thieved. When hu-mans act as animals without a conscience they are to be treated as such!

  9. David says:

    The Rule of Law supposedly laid out in the Belizean Constitution has been subverted to corporate law aka Admiralty Law aka Law of the Sea. I have never seen this mentioned for the past eight years of personal observation though thAt is-wad-id-is. I’m divesting my assets OUT of Belize though even this is being made difficult though the perpetrators will experience far more than what I’ve had to witness. You Push, We Shove. It’s a Natural Law thingy. Do you understand? Apparently Not. BooHooandso-on…../
    :-)

  10. Hatari says:

    Why is it that every year the cane farmers are crying about something or the other? Every year they want somebody to bail them out again, subsidize their production, or just plain give them more handouts. Sounds like they do not know how to run their businesses. Go ahead, drink some rum and then riot, and burn some tires. Then the rest of us have to pay the riot squads and clean up the mess.

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