Tonight there is still no word if the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association will accept the Belize Sugar Industries Limited offer to meet in Belize City and resume renegotiations on the new agreement which came to a halt some weeks ago after BSI refused to discuss the possibility of payment to cane farmers for the use of Bagasse used to generate energy by BELGOGEN.
While BSI is saying resume renegotiations on the new agreement and discuss the Bagasse issue at a later date, the BSCFA is saying “We need to discuss with our branch Chairmen before making a decision.”
With that, the opening of the 2013/2014 crop season scheduled for November 25th is at risk.
It is a sticky situation which if not resolved can affect the entire Sugar Industry and the Belizean economy on a whole. With that in mind, today the Northern Caucus of the People's United Party weighed in on the issue.
The PUP Northern Caucus notes that the sugar industry represents Belize's single most important agriculture export as it is considered the major activity in the north and pillar of Belize's economy that provides adequate employment, essential foreign exchange earnings and various other social and economic benefits.
As such, the stalemate in negotiations between the BSCFA and BSI must be viewed with serious concern as it could escalate into a major industrial dispute.
In the release issued today, the Northern Caucus of the People’s United Party expresses its full support for the cane farmers in their negotiations and calls on BSI to honor the revenue sharing agreement for bagasse as a by-product.
This support, according to the release, lies on the fact that the agreement states that the sharing of revenue arising from the sale of any by product is subject to discussion and sharing of revenue will be based on results of the discussions.
The Northern Caucus further more states, that contrary to BSI's claim, cane farmers have invested millions of dollars in the COGENERATION industry by way of producing more than 300,000 tons of raw materials at a cost surpassing $5,000,000.
In light of this fact, the PUP categorically rejects BSI’s claim that the cane farmers HAVE NO INVESTMENT IN BELCOGEN'S COGENERATION INDUSTRY. The PUP Northern Caucus calls on the Minister of Agriculture and the Government of Belize to ensure that negotiations resume and that farmers be justly and equitably rewarded for their effort and hard work and investment.
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