BSCFA speaks about delays and need to amend the Sugar Industry Act
The largest sugar cane farmers’ group, the BSCFA, are expected to be in the queue making their deliveries as early as tomorrow and Thursday. While they have agreed to the crop start in principle, there are still issues that remain unresolved – at least from their point of view. Love News also heard from the Chairman of the association’s Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega was cautiously optimistic about today’s start.
Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA: “I don’t know if I should use the word started because yes there are trucks there but the mill has not started as yet so trucks are still parked there some of them had already discharged because they started receiving them around 12:15 but the mill has not started yet according to them that the amount of cane that is out there is too little but we will see what will transpire after 2:00 o’clock. And the other question when you asked if we are in accord with it as you know we want our farmers to deliver nevertheless with the weather that we experienced this past days was very rainy weather . Up to yesterday almost all day we had some rains so farmers were unable to light fire to their cane fields and well as you know there is a schedule of delivery so the group that starts the deliveries today is Progressive Sugar Cane Association and then well we should be delivering up to Thursday morning our association. So our farmers will be burning this evening if the weather continues like this so that we prepare ourselves for Thursday morning.”
It is these challenges, which have gone without a meaningful resolution for years, are the reasons why the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association has welcomed Minister Jose Mai’s announcement that changes to the Sugar Industry Act are coming. According to Alfredo Ortega of the association’s management committee, the changes will address concerns including the calculating of the Net Stripped Value.
Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA: “One of the things that has happened I could say almost always when we are in negotiation is that the company behaves the same they want what they throw the table they want us to accept that as is without coming to negotiate and it has always been the same. So that is why we reached this point this time you know that we started from last year in August we sent in our documents that we want to negotiate with them and time only went by you know what happened last crop and then we reach almost at the same time of beginning. Luckily we believe that the entrance of the Minister of Agriculture, is his advice, that made us a bit different in signing a calendar year agreement with BSI which was totally different than last year which was only an extension. This time we managed to sign a calendar year so in reality the experience that we have for the past in regards to negotiations with BSI their attitude has always been the same it’s their way or no way and that’s not the way they could negotiate so that is why we are asking now that changes be done in the Act so that this issue can really come to an end or else we will always be in the same situation as come this past time and years before.”