Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association Briefed on New Regulations
And while BSI/ASR is simmering over their legal options, members and stakeholders of the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association (BSCFA) met yesterday for a special general meeting in Ranchito Village, Corozal District. The membership was given a rundown of the new regulations and how they, the farmers will be and can be impacted. The main presentation was given by Agriculture Minister, Abelardo Mai.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “I actually explained to them in Spanish where we are with the regulations, what was done, who were the people involved in crafting and designing the regulations. I explained to them that the entire purpose of the regulation is not the control the exports of sugar but essentially it calls for disclosure. Disclosure of your market prices, your market contracts, disclosure of certified sugar and disclosure of how much you have paid the farmers for any certified sugar. So I explained to them that contrary to what is being said by ASR the focus is not to control the export sugar but to disclose the prices paid for sugar or the prices earned out there and to ensure that the farmers receive their fair share of the markets.”
Minister Mai explained that while the new regulations are now in effect, there is still a long way to go in the sugar industry.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “This is the first step in a long journey. It is never easy to fight a multinational but I think this is a very important achievement the regulations in place. I think it’s the first line of protection for the farmers at the same time it protects the industry from hurting itself and so I think it’s very important but there are much more things that need to be done. One of them is the marketing committee I think is supposed to be the next important undertaking, to form the marketing committee to ensure that the farmers are aware of all the intricacies and all the trade agreements that are being implemented between ASR Tate and Lyle and the other markets and so on. So I think there is a lot of work to be done yet.”
The AGM was held yesterday in the Corozal District.