BSI/ASR Supports GOB’s Proposal to Revise Sugar Industry Act
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture is looking to review and revise the Sugar Industry Act next year. Although it was only the Belize Sugar Cane Farmer’s Association (BSCFA) that had not yet finalized its commercial agreement with the BSI/ASR ahead of the proposed start date of the season, the other three cane farmers’ associations in the north were also impacted by the delay. The official start date has to be gazetted by the Belize Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) and no delivery or milling can commence until then. The Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai, has announced that this and other changes are coming for the current Act. The BSI/ASR’s Finance Manager, Shawn Chavarria, explains that they support this amendment as it needs to reflect current needs to improve the industry.
Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “Well certainly from our standpoint we do feel that the Sugar Act needs to change. It needs to be updated but we see it more from the perspective that it needs to be modernized because the industry is made up of private enterprises and private individuals so the two sugar mills in Belize are private, cane farmers are private business owners themselves they grow sugar cane because they believe that they can make it as a business for themselves and so every country has its own legislation. You have some that are very regulated, you have some that are not regulated and all that depends on the structure of the industry who are the players, how many players you have and whether the mills are state owned or privately owned. So there is not a one size fits all for every sugar cane industry in the world because each one is unique, each one has it’s own set of circumstances. From our standpoint how we see it is that there is a lot of scope for the Sugar Act to be modernized. There are too many inefficiencies in the legislation, too many regulation that really just strangles the ability to operate and do business in an efficient manner.”