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Dec 24, 2021

Crop Set to Commence; Commercial Agreement Negotiations Continue

The sugar crop is set to begin on December twenty-seventh, without a consensus on how the B.S.C.F.A. and A.S.R./B.S.I. will reach a new commercial agreement. In an attempt to start the sugar crop after a one-week delay, the Sugar Industry Control Board has agreed to gazette the start of the crop for Monday. But, the labor dispute between B.S.C.F.A. and A.S.R./B.S.I. that contributed to the delay remains a live issue. The existing commercial agreement between both parties expires on January nineteenth, 2022. Without a commercial agreement, B.S.C.F.A. farmers will not be able to deliver sugar cane to the mill. Yet, due to opposing views on matters within the commercial agreement, a new agreement is yet to be signed. Several proposals are on the table to allow for the sugar crop to commence. One proposal is for both parties to sign a one-year interim agreement, to allow for negotiations to continue and for a new agreement to come into effect at the start of the 2023/2024 sugar crop. The second came as a proposal from the Government of Belize on Thursday. In a letter to B.S.I. and B.S.C.F.A. dated December twenty third, from the officer of the Prime Minister, a proposal was made to have both parties engage in good faith negotiations, beginning in January 2022, with a view to conclude a new commercial agreement before the thirtieth of April, 2022. In the intervening time, G.O.B. proposed that the current commercial agreement will continue to apply to the delivery and processing of sugarcane. The proposal notes that if an agreement is not reached by April thirtieth, B.S.C.F.A. will not be permitted to deliver sugarcane to the mill.

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