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Oct 17, 2022

Prime Minister Says Disputing Parties in Sugar Impasse Agree to Mediation Process

The impasse between A.S.R./B.S.I. and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has extended well beyond the close of the 2022 crop. All this while there is Florencio Marin Senior acting as an intermediary contracted by the government to try and bring both sides to some common ground. Following today’s house meeting, Prime Minister John Briceño told reporters that both sides have agreed to a mediation process and that he suspects will begin in about another week. But the sticking points for the disputing parties are these: the B.S.C.F.A. wants A.S.R./B.S.I. to transfer twenty million dollars in value to the farmers since the cost of production is hurting them, but the company is saying that it is simply not viable for them to do so at this time. Here’s how the PM weighed in on the matter.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“To be fair, no company will give up twenty million dollars, and I’ve been saying that to the Belize Cane Farmers Association, that if you give up twenty million dollars from revenues of what, they end up with about sixty million – you’re driving them to bankruptcy. And we need both sides. We need the miller and the need the farmers, so we need to find a compromise from both sides. A number of issues have already been addressed. The issue now is the cost, production of the direct consumption sugars, where they’re saying that they’re charging a manufacturing cost of a hundred and fifty dollars per ton. I have pointed out to the farmers at the beginning of the negotiations – the cane farmers wanted the right to be able to audit the costs that are charged at the top and B.S.I. was resisting that. Now because of the negotiations, B.S.I. has finally said okay, we are prepared to allow the cane farmers to be able to go in and audit that. My point now is to them is once you do that, then you’re starting to move in the right direction, then they’ll be able to see what are the true costs because the cane farmers are right. For all of these years they have never been able to have access to the true numbers. B.S.I. would tell them direct consumption would cost X million, without really giving the cost.”

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