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Aug 27, 2021

B.S.C.F.A. Terminates Contract with Miller; B.S.I. Responds

William Neal

Tonight we report on an impasse in the northern sugar belt between the millers and cane farmers. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has given notice to A.S.R./B.S.I. that it is terminating the commercial agreement. The agreement expires on January nineteenth, 2022 and the B.S.C.F.A. says that it is taking advantage of a clause in the agreement that permits them to notify B.S.I. that it is terminating the agreement. The association wants to renegotiate a new agreement. This afternoon, B.S.I.’s Communications Director William Neal spoke to the media about the concerns associated with the decision taken by the association.


William Neal, Communications & Government Affairs, ASR/B.S.I.

“What we are afraid of is that when we had the negotiations seven years ago, that we saw a delay in the start of the crop for two years, and it cost the industry approximately twenty million dollars. We feel that given all the challenges of climate change, COVID-19, and of course the market forces outside of the country, when you see a very low commodity price, we thought that this is not the best time to do that. The agreement itself serves the industry well. There’s a value-share, and its sixty-five percent farmers, and thirty-five percent to the mill. We feel that perhaps, we could look at some amendments, but the core values of the agreement itself have been there for decades, and they have worked. To do anything else at this point would perhaps – we’d run the risk of actually having another delay, or another disruption of the industry itself. And we just feel that this would not be in the best interest of any one of us. So, we’ve all been struggling in terms of making sure that we weather the storms of the low pricing and all the other challenges that we face. We just feel that this would not necessarily be the best time to go ahead and reopen the entire agreement to negotiations at this point.”


The B.S.C.F.A. responded to B.S.I.’s open letter on its Facebook page, saying that A.S.R./B.S.I. has disrespected the association members. The post says that “we are simply exercising our right to negotiate a new commercial agreement for the sale of our sugar cane to any sugar manufacturer, and that their attitude and behaviour cannot intimidate us.”

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