The 2021-22 sugarcane harvest delayed but expected to start on Monday, December 27
Posted: Sunday December 26, 2021 11:39 PM CST.
By Aaron Humes: After one of the most acrimonious accumulations in recent memory, the 2021-2022 sugarcane season is set to begin in the districts of Corozal and Orange Walk.
It is estimated that 1.35 million tonnes of cane is available for milling, but questions remain as to whether all will enter and whether all will be processed.
The season begins in the shadow of the soon-to-expire trade deal between Belize Sugar Industries Limited / American Sugar Refining (BSI / ASR) and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), with the latter effectively controlling 50% cent of the crop. production.
The BSCFA is demanding what it calls a fairer share of the sugar revenue pie – a 60-40 split of all gross revenue from sugar and molasses sales by BSI / ASR and the removal of extra charges for those sales. BSI / ASR counter-proposed a limit on sales of plantation white sugar and direct consumption sugars in the United States and CARICOM, but not on sales of raw sugar in the European Union (EU) and elsewhere.
There are other points of contention, such as the length of a trade agreement, a higher payment for the bagasse used to generate electricity at the cogeneration plant, etc.
Under pressure from the government, the two sides agreed to sign an interim agreement based on the current trade agreement which expires on January 19; however, BSCFA wants integrated security if negotiations are not concluded by April 30, which would limit its members in the delivery of the cane.
There are tensions between BSI / ASR and the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB), whose president, Marcos Osorio, has criticized BSI / ASR for causing disruption in the industry, including by openly intimidating BSCFA members to move away from other associations or sign individual contracts. The BSCFA in turn has been accused of threatening to disrupt its own activities.
Three other associations were not spared, with an amendment to effectively force two of them to hold leadership elections and provide updates to defeated Senate members, when the agriculture minister would have too power to resolve disputes within the industry. if the SICB cannot do it.
And there’s the ever-present threat of crop disruption through rain or other natural devastation.
We have not yet received any news on an official ceremony for tomorrow, but we will continue to follow the story.
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