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Mar 3, 2023

Is There a Lack of Enforcement in Controlled Price of Brown Sugar?

Shawn Chavarria

But is the sugar industry the victim of a dysfunctional price control system? A.S.R./B.S.I.’s Director of Finance Shawn Chavarria says it has taken too long for any adjustment to be revisited and should be looked at more regularly. If you go into any shop, brown sugar is being sold at fifty cents at the least. That’s eleven cents above the controlled retail price. B.S.I. says that the request is for an adjustment from thirty-nine cents to sixty-five cents per pound and the impact on an average family of four is about thirty-six cents a week. Farmers would see an improvement in cane price of about a dollar per ton of cane. Chavarria was asked about the lack of enforcement on the control price of brown sugar as it is being sold in supermarkets at a higher price and its impact. 


Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, A.S.R./B.S.I.

“We do know generally that it is something that is difficult on a whole for the government to do because of the lack of resources. Certainly, we suffer from it in the sense that the perception with the consumer is that we have been increasing the price of sugar, when in fact we haven’t. And so, for us it affects us negatively in that sense because the average consumer might believe that we are taking more and we are passing on cost which is not the case. So we are not benefiting whenever these prices go up, but we do know that there is some challenges in terms of having the resources to enforce and trying to stop price gouging in the marketplace. If you were to strictly go by the price control regulations, the price should be thirty-nine cents. B.S.I. sells it here at the mill for thirty-four cents, so the five cents is what supposed to be shared between the distributor and the retail. But we’ve done research and we know that brown sugar really for many years have been sold on the shelves for, I think minimum, fifty cents. And I think reasonably it go up even further. And so really, the actual controlled price is in fact thirty-nine cents. That was put in place in 2001, but it would seem over the years that it’s just been increased by – we don’t know it is distributors or the retailers – but it has gone up to where it is today.”


Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has also issued a release saying that it supports the Prime Minister’s comments and that it is also against an increase in the cost of brown sugar.

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