BSI/ASR Faces Dilemma as Sugar Scarcity Grips Consumers

BSI/ASR Faces Dilemma as Sugar Scarcity Grips Consumers

BSI/ASR is looking to import white sugar early next year after consumers have been gripped with a scarcity in recent weeks.  The dilemma comes, however, as buyers may have to pay as much as one dollar and fifty cents per pound.  With the new crop season being an iffy situation, the mill’s output in the short term is anything but predictable.  In the meanwhile, there is a limited supply of sugar that the mill says would last for an estimated two weeks.  According to Sean Chavarria, Director of Finances, they are looking at importing some 250 metric tons.   

Sean Chavaria, BSI’s Director of Finance: “We want the government to look seriously at this situation to adjust the sugar prices to levels that are consistent with market levels so that we avoid this situation because it will not go away. Mexico is forecasted to have another poor crop that means they will continue to have shortages, their prices will remain high and therefore that incentive to smuggle the sugar across the border will continue into next year. We currently have roughly ten days left of white sugar and we’re looking to import white sugar from the US to give us some cover while the crop starts. We have enough brown at the moment but as I said we are taking that brown sugar from export markets and putting it on the domestic market so that we can continue to supply. But in terms of white sugar we’re very low. We’re looking to import to give us cover for the first  week once the crop starts so that we can continue to supply the market. We indicated to government that we will not be making any markup on that sugar so we will sell it at cost, the cost that we’re estimating after shipping to Belize will be around $1.20 Belize per pound. The distributors and the retailers will probably put a markup on  that anywhere between 20-25% so I think anywhere between $1.40-$1.50 could end up being what the sugar is sold for on the shelf. Well that should be very temporary until we get the crop running and we can start producing sugar from Belize from sugar cane here but that gives you the level of price disparity that currently exists between the sugar being sold in Belize what it fetches in the export markets and why the price of sugar in Belize needs to be adjusted if not we will continue to face this challenge.”

Chavarria added that the local supply of sugar should return to normal levels by the end of January.

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