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BSCFA refutes statements made by BSI/ASR

Today the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) responded to BSI’s release issued yesterday, and it is says that BSI has made “alarming and untruthful statements regarding the commercial relationship between themselves and the BSCFA,” and has misinterpreted the Association’s intentions. BSCFA is saying that while it agrees that BSI’s proposed investment will bring benefits to industry stakeholders, the proposed amendments by BSI to the Commercial Agreement will quote, “unnecessarily put cane farmers at a great disadvantage”. It adds that while BSI had claimed that the agreement has worked well so far, the Association has identified some areas that require discussion and improvement. These include clarification on what the financial and legal obligations and responsibilities that ownership of the cane implies and clarification on the calculation of the Net Stripped Value of Sugar and Molasses on which cane farmers are paid for their cane. It clarifies that it is not seeking a full revision of the contract, but does want to clarity the amendments put forward in BSI’s proposals and those that the association had indicated. The BSCFA’s release goes on to say that quote, “For BSI to state that any re-negotiation of these changes would lead to stalemate and uncertainty is condemning the negotiation process to failure from the outset. The BSCFA is optimistic that these changes can be readily negotiated without such stalemate and uncertainty,” end of quote. Furthermore, the association says it views BSI’s statement that it would not accept cane from members of BSCFA if the agreement is terminated with dismay, citing that there is no legal provision for this in the Sugar Act. The BSCFA is consulting with its membership before providing the company with a counterproposal. They also invited BSI to present the proposal to its membership, but say that BSI has only been to one such meeting that was held with the San Lazaro Branch.