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Dec 20, 2021

Sugar Crop Season Did Not Start as Scheduled

It was a tense weekend as cane farmers in the north were wondering if B.S.I. would start processing cane today. But that didn’t happen and there may be further delays and potential losses.  B.S.I. had announced they would proceed, even if all cane farmers associations were not on board.  But then on Friday, the Sugar Industry Control Board wrote to A.S.R./B.S.I. informing the mill that without gazetting the scheduled sugar crop opening date, it would be illegal for them to begin milling.  B.S.I. believes the decision taken by the S.I.C.B. is a deliberate attempt to prevent the crop from starting.  Today, VP at A.S.R./B.S.I. Mac McLachlan said that the economic implications of such actions are significant and far-reaching.


Mac McLachlan

Mac McLachlan, VP International Relations, A.S.R./B.S.I.

“We should be milling cane as we speak and we are not. Farmers from all four cane farmers association met with B.S.I. on the eight and sixteenth of November and agreed the start of crop date would be the twentieth of December. That is today. On the seventeenth of December the SICB Chairman Marcos Osorio informed industry stakeholders by letter that until the start of crop date was published in the gazette, it would be illegal to commence grinding. We believe that this was unwarranted intervention in the operation of a private industry. And, it is meant basically the crop start is now delayed. That is going to cause economic damages to all industry stakeholders. We sought legal advice on that action. This morning lawyers representing the mill have sent a letter the SICB setting out the illegality of their actions. It amounts to an abuse of authority, after farmers and millers have already decided on the start of crops, and asking him to comply with the decision reached in his presents at those earlier meetings. There is no need in the law for the SICB to rubber stamp the decision that is simply to publish that in the gazette. That action has really brought to the forefront, a major concern that we and other industry stakeholders have share, which is about the level of control and authority that is placed in a government controlled institution.”

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