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Home » Agriculture, Economy, People & Places » Minister Mai to A.S.R/B.S.I & B.S.C.F.A: Resolve Your Issues & Get On with the Business
Sep 26, 2023

Minister Mai to A.S.R/B.S.I & B.S.C.F.A: Resolve Your Issues & Get On with the Business

For well over a year now, government officials have been trying to help the American Sugar Refineries and its partner, the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association to settle their differences and to move past their two-year-old profit-sharing dispute. At the core of the matter is a new agreement on how they will share those profits, but for the better part of the last three years, both sides have stood firmly on positions they have grounded and held. The association wants a look at the company’s records – all of it – along with better payments for the sugarcane they deliver and on the returns, but the company says it simply cannot pay more, primarily because of investments it has made in the industry recently. The respective positions have held through even a mediation process that the government introduced.  Then came the talks of a Commission of Inquiry to modernize the country’s sugar industry. This decision was made following presentations from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refinery Group (BSI/ASR). Cabinet has decided to convene a Commission of Inquiry to examine the modernization of the sugar cane industry and improve its viability. On Monday, we met Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abelardo Mai, and he suggested that the problem has carried on for too long and that the two parties need to settle their differences now and put the matter behind them.


Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security

“We are meeting the cane farmers this week though. We have to start the crop. We have to have a commercial agreement. We have to come to some agreement. This thing is going for too long now. We have to start the crop. Both have to make some kind of commitment. Both have to compromise, right? And we are looking at that. We have to man; we can’t continue with this. This thing is stressing everybody out.”


Marion Ali

“And the mediation process, is that over with?”


Jose Abelardo Mai

“No, we – the commission of inquiries is right now. We have the team – the commissioners, and we are supposed to begin at any time now.”

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