But when it comes to the negotiation of the Commercial Agreement did cane farmers really have a chance at getting what they were fighting for? You can come up with your own concept after hearing the response of Minister Elrington.
Wilfred Elrington - Attorney-General
“The position of the cane-farmers historically has never been strong. You have a perishable crop. The crop cannot stay in the ground for more than a few weeks otherwise it starts to rot. So you don’t have much scope to negotiate. You don’t have a very strong negotiating position. People have mortgages to pay. People have loans. So you have got to take all of that into consideration. If I don’t agree with the proposal that you are putting, what next? Do I have a fallback plan? The farmers unfortunately don’t. That is not unusual in this kind of industry. And I will say to you…they should have learned from what occurred in the citrus industry. This is a replay of what recently took place in the citrus industry.”
No matter what transpires in the Sugar Industry From this moment on, truth of the fact is cane farmers are on the verge of signing the commercial agreement with BSI/ASR, be it by association, test group or individually. The signing of the seven year agreement will put the industry one step closer to the commencement of crop. As we know it some cane farmers are signing the agreement under duress while others are still concerned about the particular clause that clearly states that BSI/ASR will be recognized as the owners of the cane once it passes the gate of the factory.
When it comes to the commercial agreement the opinions differ. Many cane farmers believe it is not in their best interest. In fact they voted against it. But according to Minister Godwin Hulse, while the commercial agreement is not the best thing since slice bread, it is a good one for cane farmers.
Godwin Hulse- Minister Of Immigration and Labor
“The 65/35 remains, there's no change their. The next trip value, what the deductions from that are the same as they have always been, the payment of 80% after the first week of delivery continues and the reason for that is because it is a rolling estimate, so they can't pay 100%. The remaining 20% is paid in 2 increments; I think its 5 Wednesdays after the crop ends and the first week in November has always happened, so all of that remains. What has changed? Previously, there was no payment at all from bagasse and now there is. Whether you agree with the formula or not there is some payment with a view that in 3 years’ time you can revisit that formula. And the second thing is there is a seven year term but that is premise on a strategic development plan.”
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