Belize Sugar Cane Growers Association calls for government intervention in stalled trade deal negotiations

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Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2022. 5:04 p.m. CST.

By Aaron Humes: The two sides had remained silent since they began negotiations six months ago, but the end of the sugar season is ending without a trade agreement between Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) and Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association. (BSCFA) for several years.

And to get one in time for the new season, BSCFA President Andy Westby told Breaking Belize News (BBN) this afternoon, it will take intervention from the Belize government.

While the current expired deal has been extended until the end of July and covers the first payment of the new season to farmers in November, according to Westby, negotiations with BSI/ASR have not taken place “in good faith”. at the table.

The main sticking point remains BSCFA’s demands for a 60-40 profit split on the gross value of the cane before marketing, shipping, etc. costs. rather than what remains, known as stripped net worth (NSV). Westby said BSI/ASR suggested that BSCFA hire an auditor to review its figures, but seemed unwilling to change its position.

Westby assessed the state of play as “back to square one” and hopes government intervention will lead the company to see that this redistribution of profits is “fair” to the farmer and the miller, not the “enjoy” that he sees in the expired agreement.

BSI/ASR didn’t tell their side of the story, but we’ll ask them the questions at Friday’s harvest closing ceremony at Orange Walk.

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Rachel J. Bradford