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Dec 16, 2013

Farmers have a counterproposal to B.S.I.’s offer for bagasse

Up north, the sugar industry remains at a standstill. This Sunday, cane-farmers from all eighteen branches in the north assembled at the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico to receive an update from the BSCFA, and to provide the association with a mandate for the days ahead in respect of a proposed deal with B.S.I. on bagasse. Following what was termed a successful session between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and representatives from B.S.I./ASR, on December eleventh, B.S.I. wrote to the PM agreeing to a discussion on payment for bagasse. And while that is sounded like good news for the industry which is the lifeblood of the north, B.S.I. also added provisos to that agreement. So with proposals and provisos being exchanged, the million dollar question remains – will there even be a 2013-2014 sugar cane crop? Mike Rudon has an update on the very volatile industry.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

On Sunday, many cane farmers took the time to listen to their leaders before providing direction on what lies ahead. After hearing B.S.I.’s proposal on a bagasse payment, there is what seems to be an uneasy willingness to accept that olive branch in good faith, even though there are concerns with some of the conditions.

 

Alfredo Ortega

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

“The farmers accepted that it was good that B.S.I., in their letter that they sent to the Prime Minister, they accepted that they will be paying the farmers for bagasse and also that they want to conclude the negotiations. So that part of the letter was quite well accepted by the farmers.”

 

Reporter

“And what part wasn’t so well accepted?”

 

Alfredo Ortega

“Well there are certain areas in the letter that they said that once we get payment for the bagasse that should qualify and be the last point in regards to any byproducts out of the sugar cane and there are also other areas where they are saying that based on the negotiations that we will finally come to the conclusion who is the owner of the products that come out of the sugar cane. So those are the areas that the farmers through resolution yesterday modified in certain context that clarifies on our side how things should be going based on the agreement that we currently have with them. And that is what will be sent to the Prime Minister.”

 

Farmers want the payment agreement sealed and a quantum agreed by the end of January. There is also a determination to get this matter on the table and dealt with as soon as possible.

 

Alfredo Ortega

“What the farmers are saying is yes let us come negotiate and let us agree that there will be a payment for the bagasse. Now the quantum, if B.S.I. would like, we can finalize those things very quickly. But let’s say that it comes to the point that we need to find a formula or whatnot then the farmers placed on the resolution that it should be not further than the end of January to finalize payment for bagasse.”

 

The clock is ticking, and time is not something any of the stakeholders in the industry can treat as an unlimited commodity. As far as Ortega is concerned, the meeting with B.S.I. tentatively set for Thursday should still happen.

 

Alfredo Ortega

“We will be sending the letter to the Prime Minister based on the resolution of yesterday’s meeting and we had proposed to the Prime Minister when we met with him last week that we can see Thursday as a good date for us to meet. So it all depends on what the Prime Minister will be dealing with, with ASR upon the letter that we send him. And if they commit, we will be seeing forward to meet on Thursday.”

 

And even with both B.S.I. and BSCFA going to the table to sort this out…farmers will still have to deal with at least one major challenge – there have been heavy rains for the past few days, and more is forecast. That is not good news where sugar roads or cane quality are concerned.

 

Alfredo Ortega

“That’s still a big concern. As you see the last time when you came, at least, the roads were not so muddy and you were able to travel on it. And right now if you go on the same road, you will see the situation that it is filled with water. Works were about to start on it and the bulldozer came and scrape out some of the mud, but it damaged more the road because of the rainfall. And yesterday the town of Orange Walk experiences very heavy rain that filled almost every single area with water again. So this situation with the weather right now is really, really causing that the sucrose contend on the cane does not mean to be good and also the situation with the sugar roads are very bad at this point in time. Even if we want to start, we are unable to start the crop.”

 

The sugar-cane will still need a few weeks of dry to regain sucrose content. Currently the quality is not up to par because of the incessant rains. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “Farmers have a counterproposal to B.S.I.’s offer for bagasse”

  1. ceo says:

    The cane farmers should never give up their rights to what ever other product or improvements can and will come from the processing of sugar cane. BSI should negotiate in good faith and should look after the interest of the farmers and them selves in every deal they make. Yes they should be compensated for their inovations and ideas but just don’t piss on the farmers. Just remember that BSI may be more technologically savy than the farmers but BSI would not have a grain of sugar to sell if it was not for the farmers. BSI needs to get beyond this “all for us” mentality and move towards the “live and let live” mentality.

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