BSCFA Concerns with Tate & Lyle Fair-Trade Agreement: Three Main Issues Highlighted
Turning back to the sugar concerns, as we reported earlier, the government will be assisting the BSCFA in its venture to obtain a fair-trade agreement from Tate & Lyle. But will it be harder than anticipated? The BSCFA says that there are certain issues with principles in the agreement it is being offered by Tate and Lyle. BSCFA’s Chairman of its Finance Committee, Javier Keme, says that there are three main areas of concern that the association has.
Javier Keme, Chairman, BSCFA Finance Committee: “We would have to agree to the premium plan and review committee meetings which has to do with Fair Trade premiums. We have to plan, we have to implement programs and we would have meetings to report. The second two principles have nothing to do with Fair Trade, it’s regarding SIMIS which is Sugar Industry Management Information System which again we have said as BSCFA that we don’t have anything against it. It’s a very good tool for the industry. As a matter of fact the BSCFA started with that program, we are for it, we are pro for it but it has the terms of reference has to be clear. Who is gonna manage the data ? Who has the authority to manage the data and that to our understanding and to our belief it should be the SICB the Sugar Industry Control Board which is the legal authority that governs the sugar industry. On the third point, on this point SIMIS has nothing to do with Fair Trade so it has to do with production which has to do with BSI. The third principle they put as a condition is that we have to agree to promote the programs that BSI brings to our farmers which again in principle we have nothing against it. We are always pro getting benefits for our farmers and if that is way that our farmers can benefit we have nothing against it. The only condition we were contending was that BSI was insisting to get the authority to get in contact with our farmers directly and we were asking that the communication of such programs or such things like trainings that would have to be regarding those programs would have to be to the structure of communication of the organization which is the committee of management.”
Keme further explained that while the group is not in agreement with the stipulations, it does feel forced to agree to collect fair trade premiums.
Javier Keme, Chairman, BSCFA Finance Committee: “In the first place we need to agree to those principles for a signing of agreement with Tate and Lyle. We have no problem with the first one which is the PPRC but we are not in agreement with the two others so that is again when we say this to Tate and Lyle they say you are not interested, you are playing with me we so I will not give you the letter of agreement to sign because you only want to accept one of my principles right ? So we don’t have a choice then. It is not something that we can choose not to accept. We either accept to those principles or we don’t get the premium. So what is the risk of it ? The risk of it is that if we don’t accept them then we can find other ways to justify that we are not in agreement but once we sign the letter of agreement we can’t say otherwise because those principles have indicators and if we don’t comply satisfactorily to their belief we give them the right to suspend the premium payment. So at any time on those three principles if we miss any one of them we are in the risk of authorizing them to withdraw the Fair Trade premium. So for us the only sin the BSCFA has is that we always question and when we question then people don’t like it and that is where we create that distance between us that we don’t want to accept their principles and then they interpret it as we don’t share the same vision and the same principles.”