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Government Saves Sugar Industry Again! Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

bsi.jpg - 92.35 KbAfter the long weeks of delay, and about 10 million dollars lost in revenue to the sugar industry, a date has been set for its start, and the factory owners will carefully negotiate with the farmers for a payment for bagasse.

It has been widely covered by all the major media houses that the farmers had placed an indefinite embargo on the deliveries of cane to the sugar mill. Without the cane from the farmers, the 2013/2014 crop season has not been able to begin. It should have started sometime around November 15, but it has not, principally because of the bagasse dispute between the farmers and the factory owners.

The dispute was continuing on with no clear end, and the country was losing revenue because of it, but the first big step to a temporary resolution came on Wednesday, January 8, when the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association tabled an interim agreement in their negotiations with the Belize Sugar Industry. BSI and its principal investor, ASR, continued to refuse giving a commitment to pay for bagasse, even after the Prime Minister Dean Barrow showed his support on behalf of the farmers based on the merit of their claim.

He has made interventions in the dispute, and it would seem that his efforts, and that of the Government, has assisted. The interim agreement was supported by the cane farmers, after hours of discussion with their association’s executive on Sunday, January 12. Both sides signed the interim agreement the next day.

It represents a significant give and take from both sides on the dispute, but the most important aspects of it is that BSI, in good faith, intends to pay for bagasse, subject to negotiations. In response, the BSCFA, in good faith, intends to oversee the deliveries of cane for the season so that it can go to completion without interruption. Neither side has relented, so, it is by no means a perfect resolution, but at least it has allowed for the season to start on Monday January 20, at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile the government has immediately began the work to rehabilitate the sugar road network in both the Corozal and Orange Walk districts, investing some 2 million dollars in repairs.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:22