Tonight there is tension in the sugar industry between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR. This comes at the heels of a proposal made by ASR to upgrade the factory in preparation of the coming changes in the EU market regime in October 2017. In that proposal ASR proposes to invest twenty two million dollars to increase production of value-added, direct consumption sugars. For this investment to happen however, BSI/ASR is proposing to amend the 2015 cane purchase agreement to cement the current revenue share agreement as well as the payment formula for bagasse until 2022.
While the other two associations have agreed to this proposal, the BSCFA does not believe the proposal is beneficial for its membership and has presented a counter-proposal, which proposes a comprehensive revision of the contract including payment for bagasse.
Both parties however, seem to be standing their ground, prompting BSI/ASR to issue a release today where they categorically state and we quote “ BSI wants to emphasize to farmers that BSI is unable under law to accept cane from farmers who do not have a cane purchase agreement in place. Therefore, if the agreement is terminated, BSI will not be able to accept cane from BSCFA.” End quote
According to their release BSI believes that “ BSCFA is focused on altering the division of existing revenue, rather than focusing on increasing overall revenue for the benefit of the entire industry and the country of Belize” and offers to explain the project benefits to all cane farmers. The milling company in its release, also urges all BSCFA farmers to join the rest of the industry by agreeing to the proposal and therefore sharing in the additional revenue from the added value project.
BSCFA is yet to respond to BSI’s latest release and we expect that they will do so tomorrow.