The impasse between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR) is very much alive today. As we’ve reported, the end of this year’s crop season meant the end of an interim agreement signed by both parties regarding a commercial agreement. Earlier this month Prime Minister John Briceno and Agriculture Minister Jose Mai met with representatives of the BSCFA and after the meeting, PUP’s northern caucus announced its decision to support the BSCFA. The parties remain unable to agree on a commercial agreement and some farmers fear that this might lead to another delay in the start of the crop. When asked for an update, Minister Mai shared that farmers are alleging that BSI/ASR is using a divide and conquer tactic.
Responding to the Minister’s claim today was BSI/ASR. The company says that it “reserves the right to engage and answer questions from farmers—from any farmer association—to demonstrate the value of its major investments and the benefits farmers derive as a result. BSI/ASR says (quote) “We, therefore, maintain that there is nothing unethical or divisive in doing so; particularly, when they are seeking information not available through their association. BSI’s sole goal remains to further develop the northern sugar industry in Belize and make it sustainable well into the future.” (end of quote)