Representative of the OW Est region. on the sugar industry deadlock
BELIZE CITY, Wed, Dec 22, 2021 – In an interview this week, Minister Kevin Bernard, regional representative for Orange Walk East, told media he encouraged both sides involved in the ongoing stalemate in the sugar industry to work together to resolve their disputes. Although the minister is not a sugarcane producer himself, he said there are many cañeros in his constituency and he stressed that any trade deal formulated must benefit both the mill (ASR / BSI) and farmers.
Speaking to local media, Minister Bernard said: “I think I want to state publicly that I think all the players need to come to the table – the farmers, BSI / ASR I will speak, I am not a farmer, but I have farmers in my constituency, and they also believe they were exploited by the supergiants of the sugar industry. Now, I am not attacking the sugar industry, but I also think that they must also understand that whatever agreement is going to be signed within the various associations of cane producers and BSI / ASR, it must have benefits for both. “
He stressed that the farmers invest a large amount of money to produce the cane that is brought to the factory, and he asked ASR / BSI to do its part to properly compensate these northern cañeros.
“BSI has to do its part to make sure they are paid the right way. I think the farmers feel that some of the things that are being proposed are not to their advantage, and I’m sure we have some great people around this table who can amicably resolve this issue. I just want to encourage them, let’s work together for the benefit of industry, for the benefit of the North and for the benefit of this economy, ”said Minister Bernard.
At this time, the crushing of the cane for this season has still not started. Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) chairman Marcos Osorio said BSCFA member sugar cane producers wanted to sign a one-year interim agreement with BSI, but the company said that would not would box down the road, and potentially lead to another dead end ahead of next year’s harvest.