Minister Mai says sugar industry is in a very difficult position – Love FM

“The sugar industry is in a very difficult position” – this is what Agriculture Minister Jose Mai said of the current standoff between ASR/BSI and the Cane Growers Association Belize Sugar Company (BSCFA). As we reported, the conclusion of this year’s sugar season also marked the expiration of the interim agreement that Prime Minister John Briceño brokered to end a 3-day blockade of the factory. This deadlock, which concerned the signing of a trade agreement between the two parties, resulted in a late start to the sugar campaign and tons of lost cane. To ensure that the next sugar season does not suffer the same fate, the government, the prime minister and the agriculture minister met with the BSFCA last week to discuss their position and the request they have put forward. at the ASR/BSI. However, according to Minister Mai, so far, the requests made by the BSCFA are not taken into consideration by the miller.

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Ent. : “Our hope is that an agreement will be reached before the start of the next harvest. The deadline was supposed to be before the end of the harvest. This does not happen. We go back to the second round and we expect an agreement but believe that it is time to make the difficult decisions. As a county, as leaders of this country, we are tasked with making tough decisions and I think it has to be done in the best interest of the industry, in the best interest of the people of this country. So we have a long way to go. We just hope that stakeholders, both millers and farmers, can reach a position where both have everything to gain. As a government, our role is to ensure that the parties are treated fairly and that the big person does not take advantage of the small person and the small person does not take advantage, because of the masses, the investor or of the miller. So we have to play that role and we have to play it carefully. But again, it is not an easy task to deal with the sugar industry. It’s very complicated but at the end of the day, we hope to have a fair agreement, fair for the farmers and the manufacturers. »

Rachel J. Bradford