There have been a number of matters that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmer’s Association has had to face in the sugar industry and which can spell calamity in the industry. There are currently at least three pressing matters that they need to tackle starting with reaching a resolution to the revenue sharing of bagasse with BSI. Then there are the issues surrounding Fairtrade. These were brought up in the sitting of the House of Representatives last Friday. Corozal South East Area Representative Florencio Marin Junior is of the opinion that all stakeholders should come together to resolve the issue to ensure the survival of the industry.
Florencio Marin – Area Representative Corozal Southeast
“We can begin to resolve some of these issues it is not going to be easy, it won’t be resolve easily at all, it is a very serious issue but we can begin to start to resolve it if we revised the sugar act and especially begin to clearly revise the marketing of our sugar, right now we have one person marketing our sugar, we need to have some adjustments into that, the farmers at the very least have to see where we are selling our sugar, we have a lot of information when you speak with the farmers they have a lot of information how the relationship with cane farmers and the cane millers in the Central American countries operate, how they market their sugar there are many different solutions you just have to listen to everybody in the table to resolve it and everybody have to come to the table for this.”
There have been several speculations surrounding the reduced quota purchase for Fairtrade, and the BSCFA has taken several criticisms even from within the eighteen branches it represents. Well, at the House sitting last Friday, they took one more from the Prime Minister who made it clear that the BSCFA needs to get its act together.
Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize
“The Fair-Trade premiums are not paid to the poor cane farmer as you well know, they are paid to the Association and it is as a consequence of the irregularities and mismanagement of the Association that decertification has occurred for the second time in the short history of Fair Trade, what is in the window five years and this is the second time, the BSCFA lead by your people, people like Ortega who contested a PUP convention to try to become the standard bearer for Orange Walk North and lost terribly, people like Ortega and the one to whom he lost Munchi Cervantes, it is under the stewardship that people like that that the BSCFA lost its certification, lost its FLOCERT for the second time and I make the point again unless they can regain that certification it doesn’t matter whether the Fair Trade Premiums are reduced because if they are big or they are small they can’t get nothing, not a penny so tell them first of all to get their house in order.”
We’ll keep following the developments within the sugar industry.
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