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Dec 31, 2013

Cane farmers desperate for resolution on bagasse issue

Now, eight days ago, the Belize Sugar Industries and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association came to the negotiating table for the first time since late September. As the fiery release from the BSCFA indicates that much was discussed, but little was resolved with any clarity. Just after that meeting, B.S.I.’s Financial Controller, Belizario Carballo, stated that they needed some indication from the BSCFA as to just what kind of commitment in writing it needed. BSCFA has since sent in that clarification, and now the ball is squarely in B.S.I.’s court. It’s a troubling impasse, and because the crop season is time-sensitive, it needs to be resolved fast. Today we got an update on the situation and according to the Vice-Chairman of the BSCFA’s Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega, cane farmers are desperate for a resolution, but not desperate enough to give up their payment for bagasse.


Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega, Vice-Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA

“We have sent them the letter that they asked from us, from the association looking forward on what we are seeking…we have sent that to them but we have not received any response from them at this time.”



Alfredo Ortega

“What basically have you guys sent? Is it just what you have told us – that you all need a commitment in writing that there will be a payment for bagasse?”


Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Yes, exactly…that is what we have sent them. We’ll be waiting until Thursday to see what happens and if there is no response then we’ll be writing the Prime Minister about this situation and to see what will be the next step forward.”



“Is there some kind of concern at this point because I know that while we’ve been saying January fifteenth, hopefully you would want to start before that because that’s cutting it a bit close?”


Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Yes, yes, yes…we are a bit concerned because as you know time is going by and even though the weather is still raining a lot over here and it’s not permitting for the roads to be fixed at this time…well even with that time is going by and farmers are getting a bit desperate in delivering their cane. But even with that desperation that the farmers they are looking forward to getting a commitment in writing from B.S.I. and that is the point where we are at this time.”



“So if we could just cut to the chase…at this point based on the mandate that you all have from the farmers…if you do not receive a commitment to pay for bagasse there will be no crop this year?”


Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Of course we remain at the same point. If there is any delay from B.S.I. and there is not a movement from government then what we’ll do is that we’ll be calling another meeting with our farmers to see what will be the next step that we’ll be taking.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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