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Dec 19, 2013

Bagasse crisis reloaded

There is danger of a breakdown in the very tentative goodwill between the Belize Sugar Industry and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Last week, following a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, ASR/B.S.I. agreed in principle to pay for bagasse, with some conditions. That seemed to be a major concession and things looked good. But they’re not looking quite as good right about now. On Sunday, cane-farmers met, and they’re okay about meeting at the discussion table and okay about starting the crop. But they’re not into an agreement in principle. They want an agreement to pay for bagasse…simple as that.  Today, B.S.I. issued a stormy release, referring to the response by the BSCFA as disappointing and disturbing. According to the release, the BSCFA has decided that ASR/B.S.I. must legally obligate itself in writing to make payment for bagasse before cane delivery can start. B.S.I. finds that position, “quite irresponsible and unreasonable.” Furthermore, says B.S.I., to accede to this type of intimidation would be an important and damaging precedent for negotiations for any industry. The release ends by stating that the damage to the sugar crop is now imminent. So are the parties back at square one? It seems so to us. This afternoon we spoke to Vice-Chairman of BSCFA’s Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega. He hadn’t seen the release so could not comment…but he did say that there is a tentative plan for a meeting between the BSCFA and ASR/B.S.I. on Monday.

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1 Response for “Bagasse crisis reloaded”

  1. Dr. Margaret Noguera, MD says:

    This is a clear indicator that the Industry is in need of an overhaul for the better. There are some of us that believe that the BSCFA has served its usefulness and must now be eliminated or undergo a serious re-booting.
    The time has come for a new scheme – Associations and Coops or Companies need to sit and do contracting, change the three part payment to a more equitable system so farmers are not so cash strapped. In this new scheme, Baggasse will not be the issue. Quality Cane from the farmer and best products from Manufacturer. Country continues to benefit through sales of quality products to the buyer.

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