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Jan 13, 2014

Farmers pen agreement with B.S.I.

Via Phone: Mike Rudon

The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has finally signed an agreement with the Belize Sugar Industries and its parent company, the American Sugar refinery. The parties penned the deal at about five this evening at the B.S.I. Staff Club in Orange Walk Town.  We can report that while in principle, farmers will be getting payment for bagasse, the amount was not determined. After the signing, they sat down to negotiate the start of the crop season, for which a date has been set even while the sugar roads continue to pose a major problem for the delivery of cane. Our team is heading back from Orange Walk at this time, but we have a phone interview with Mike Rudon who has been following this story.


Via Phone: Mike Rudon

“The meeting got underway at about 4:30 today and at about 5 o’clock the signing was done between B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I. Both parties have agreed to sign on and to accept the interim agreement which was drafted by B.S.C.F.A. and modified by both parties. The final draft was accepted on January 10th and that is the copy that both parties signed on today. There are still some concerns about the sugar cane crop, the main being the sugar roads, the agreement is that the crop will start at 10 A.M. on January 20th. That is when deliveries will start to the mills. The sugar roads are a big problem right now; there are several branches of the BSCFA that cannot deliver cane at this time because of the condition of the sugar roads. There was a release issued today that two million dollars will be immediately be allocated to sugar roads. Cane farmers today told us that is not enough, that is a figure that was agreed on at a meeting between BSCFA and PM some time ago and since then there have been incessant rains and the roads have gotten much worse, they are saying that, that will do for now and that is not enough to get all cane farmers moving. Today both parties seem optimistic that they will be able to push forward the crop. BSI C.E.O. Joey Montalvo reiterated that they are willing to negotiate in good faith and they will pay for bagasse. Although they never were able to give the BSCFA a legally binding commitment, he said today and he maintained that they will pay for bagassse after an agreement, after a discussion which is scheduled to continue and will end sometime before the 2013/2014 crop end. The sugar crop season will start at 10 A.M. on January 20th. Let me day again that it is not an ideal situation for with party, because of the rains the quality of the sugar are not where they are suppose to be. So they are all hoping that with the additional week before January 20th that it will be a dry week and that the sugar cane will be able to recover some of its sucrose content. As well as within that week they are going that government gets underway almost immediately and the sugars roads are fixed which at least will allow the sugar cane crop to get underway.”


We’ll have more on this later on the newscast. 

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