PM Brokers Bagasse Breakthrough Print E-mail
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Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00

pm and ortega.jpg - 97.38 KbPrime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, has been able to broker a deal between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and American Sugar Refineries/Belize Sugar Industry limited. The agreement as it stands on Wednesday, December 11th, had the PM present a letter to the BSCFA in which ASR commits to pay the cane farmers for bagasse. The price that will be paid is yet to be determined.

Alfredo Ortega Chairman of the BSCFA explained that the proposal by ASR will be taken to a general meeting on Sunday December 15th during which they will be getting directives from the farmers on how to proceed. It is a major step forward for the industry which over the past few months had been bogged down in a standoff situation where cane farmers were requesting payment for bagasse as a bi-product of sugar cane and BSIL maintaining that it was really waste product.

Prime Minister Barrow explained that negotiations between ASR and BSIL are expected after the Sunday general meeting of cane farmers and tentatively the first meeting is set for Thursday, December 19th. While that first step is encouraging, Ortega explained that for now they need to get a mandate from the farmers on how to move forward. Tentatively it is expected that BSIL and BSCFA will sign a commercial agreement in which they agree that payment on bagasse will be made and a four month period is taken during which a price is set on the bagasse.

For now, it appears that the bagasse impasse is looking to be resolved and only the famers will able to give the not for the continuing on this path. Meanwhile, however, sugar cane deliveries are still not being done. Major factors affecting this continue to be the excessive amounts of rains which is diluting the amount of sucrose content in the cane which would cause for lowering of the price. Another obstacle is the state of the sugar roads which the Prime Minister stated there will be contract signing for work to begin at latest on Friday, December 13th. He added that 2 million dollars will be invested in the roads with the Orange Walk district receiving 1.1 million dollars while the Corozal district receiving $900,000.

With those hindrances the sugar industry is still not expected to start until the first week of January when the weather and road conditions are expected to be favorable.