December 7th, that is the tentative date for the opening of the 2015/2016 Crop Season. A release issued by the Sugar Industry Control Board late yesterday evening, states that if weather and road conditions permit, the crop will commence on December 7th. We understand that the date was set on the 20th of November during a meeting held at the Sugar Industry Control Board between the three associations and BSI/ASR.
While initially the tentative date for commencement of crop was November 30th, reports are the date changed due to the weather.
But while a date has been set, there is still no resolution when it comes to the first price estimate which BSI/ASR puts at $41.56 per ton, 21% less than last year. The cry is that, at this figure, cane farmers will be crippled, especially the small ones. But BSI/ASR has indicated that there is no room for an increase as the estimated price is based on the price of sugar in the European Union's Market.
There is also the proposed increase in the price of sugar in the local market by 25 cents. This is something all the associations and BSI/ASR are in support of as it will automatically translate to five dollars more per ton of cane for the cane farmer. But the proposal is yet to be discussed and at the same time we must note that it is one that has been tabled before and rejected by Cabinet.
There is also the matter of how the quotas will be distributed. Already some cane farmers are crying that their quotas has been cut by half to accommodate others in the industry starting with BSI/ASR and SIRDI, the Sugar Industry Research Development Institute.
We understand all those matters w
ill be discussed on Friday during a meeting scheduled to take place between the three associations, the miller, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and other representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture.
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