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Nov 27, 2023

BSCFA Urges Government Intervention Amidst Commercial Agreement Standoff

It’s happening again, another standoff between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited over the commercial agreement.  Earlier this month, B.S.I. held a press briefing, pleading that the BSCFA sign a five-year interim commercial agreement to prevent a delay of the start of the crop next month. B.S.I.’s Director of Finance, Shawn Chavarria explained that B.S.I. had written to the BSCFA with plans to start the crop by mid-December, if the BSCFA signs the interim commercial agreement that expired on November fifteenth. Well, the BSCFA responded with a strong NO. In its release, the BSCFA said that B.S.I. submitted a proposed Fourth Addendum to the commercial agreement, which according to the BSCFA, was the original addendum suggested by B.S.I. back in 2021. According to BSCFA, the proposed Addendum advocates for a four-year agreement, addressing the Fairtrade Premium payment by Tate & Lyle Sugars (TLS) under specific conditions. The BSCFA says it also outlines requirements for a letter of agreement that does not align with Fairtrade Standards and suggests changes in language regarding additional costs deducted from gross proceeds from the sale of sugar and molasses. BSCFA contends that B.S.I.’s proposed Addendum neglects key economic considerations crucial to the association and cane farmers. In response, BSCFA’s counterproposals emphasize fair pricing for sugar cane, incorporating a verification process for the actual costs associated with direct consumption sugars’ production, as well as the handling and marketing of local and export sugars. BSCFA’s proposals also advocate for B.S.I., not TLS, to pay the Fairtrade Premium and call for a reasonable agreement period. BSCFA is asking for government’s intervention on this issue.

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