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Oct 26, 2022

Agriculture Minister: Cabinet is Concerned over Sugar Impasse

We caught up with Agriculture Minister, Abelardo Mai today and he informed that the impasse between the two parties has now gotten the attention of the Cabinet. He described the sugar impasse as delicate and sensitive and was cautiously optimistic that there is a feeling that things have begun to move in the right direction.


Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture

“The members of Cabinet were very concerned that this is going on for a very long time and they’ve given certain directives that I must do and we are working on that at this time. The volumes of correspondences between B.S.C.F.A and A.S.R/B.S.I are a lot. I want to say this cautiously, but I believe that we are progressing in this week slowly. At least I have seen that A.S.R has moved from a position of saying “We don’t need mediation,” to “Let me rethink mediation” to now “Okay, let’s go to mediation.” So we are moving. At this point we’re at that little juncture or point where they are saying okay, let us determine who would be the mediators. And when we have the list of mediators, we will select who the mediators are. So we’re at that point right now, and my hope is that we will have a commercial agreement before the start of the next crop. Farmers believe that B.S.I has played a delay tactic, first waiting out, waiting out, waiting out – they believe hoping that farmers would have left the association and go to other associations – that is what farmers believe. They are convinced that because of the influence that B.S.I is holding off on the fair trade monies that farmers would have further left. That is not what happened. So now, the crop is to start in the first week of December and the B.S.C.F.A is still there and still fighting their ground. We have to respect the resilience of the cane farmers but must also be reminded that A.S.R is a business company to make money, and nothing is wrong with that, once it is done fairly – the farmers are treated fairly and so is A.S.R.”

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