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Mar 3, 2023

B.S.I. Speaks Out on Request for Increase in Cost of Brown Sugar

Earlier this week, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association proposed an increase in the prices of brown and plantation white sugars, noting that the last adjustment in cost of the plantation white sugar sold domestically was back in 2015 when it was increased to seventy-five cents. At that time, the increase was not extended to brown sugar, for which the controlled retail price has been thirty-nine cents per pound since 2001 – that’s twenty-two years ago. Since then, inflation in Belize has risen, not to mention transportation costs which have skyrocketed. On Wednesday, Prime Minister John Briceño said that an increase cannot be considered at this time, even though the retail price of basic items are more than three times the controlled price of brown and plantation white sugar. Today, the Belize Sugar Industries spoke to its letter of request dated February eighth, saying that the current situation is fundamentally unfair to the sugar industry.


Shawn Chavarria

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

“We’ve outlined what we believe to be some very strong economic arguments for why there should be an increase in the cost of brown sugar. It hasn’t moved for twenty-two years and when you consider that inflation has increased significantly in those past twenty-two years; the cost of production – all the factors of production in land capital and labour has gone up, those make compelling arguments. In addition to that, we know that in terms of what brown sugar can get in the region, in neighbouring countries is more than twice what we are selling here in Belize. And so, you risk as well having cross border contraband and we used to see that with plantation white sugar before it was adjusted in 2015; that there was a big contraband of plantation white sugar going out of Belize into neighbouring Mexico and Guatemala because it was being sold much higher in those markets. And so, from our standpoint, it is creating a market distortion where it is below the world market price for sugar at this moment, it is below the cost of production and you know, considering as we said that it hasn’t moved for twenty-two years, we think those are strong arguments for why there should be an increase in the price.”

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