BSI called for an increase in brown sugar in February; BSCFA says an increase is unfair to consumers

BSI called for an increase in brown sugar in February; BSCFA says an increase is unfair to consumers

In February, BSI/ASR also wrote the Prime Minister asking for an increase in the price of brown sugar, citing a major disparity between market prices for grade brown sugar and the regulated price for the product in Belize. BSI says that it can sell brown sugar into CARICOM for 64 cents per pound compared to the control price of 39 cents per pound. We asked Ortega for his reaction to that rationale. 

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA: “First of all we see that that will put a burden on the Belizean consumers on which you know the cost of living is very high right now and increasing the price of sugar that means that many other articles not just the sugar will increase but like bread and other stuff that are made using sugar will increase and as BSCFA well we have seen where in other sections where the farmers can get benefits, where their prices can be increased rather than increasing the price of sugar locally. As you know BSCFA has been negotiating with BSI trying to change the system of payment on which we presently have which is called the net strip value on which we have been asking for a change of the gross revenue rather than what we have right now and we have seen that moving to that direction that will give more benefit to the farmers and also reducing the cost of what they’re charging presently for the manufacturing allowance which we know that the manufacturing allowance is too high where they have it right now. By reducing the manufacturing allowance the farmers can get more benefit out of their cane without having to increase the price of sugar for the local consumption.”

In February, BSI/ASR also wrote the Prime Minister asking for an increase in the price of brown sugar, citing a major disparity between market prices for grade brown sugar and the regulated price for the product in Belize. BSI says that it can sell brown sugar into CARICOM for 64 cents per pound compared to the control price of 39 cents per pound. We asked Ortega for his reaction to that rationale. 

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA: “They are the ones that know the numbers. They’re the ones that knows how much they sell to the CARICOM or to the other markets outside so they control the sale of sugar. So they know exactly on what prices they’re selling. We do for instance when the increase of white sugar was done we were supporting that an increase should also be done to the brown sugar. Nevertheless the government at the time didn’t want to increase the brown sugar they only increased the white sugar. So now that we’re in negotiation with BSI we have seen as I mentioned before where the price or the ton of cane to farmers can be increased. Right ? So we don’t see right now in the cost of living that we are presently going through right now with the increase of everything that has happened we don’t see right now fit for it to happen. That is why we are looking forward as the BSCFA in other avenues where the farmers can get what they’re supposed to duly get for the product that they deliver to BSI without placing a burden on the Belizean consumer.”

BSI/ASR also makes the case that price for brown sugar has not increased in 22 years and during that time, inflation has risen 35 percent and transport costs are 60 percent higher. For Ortega, that’s not a good excuse, especially since neither his association nor the miller have budged in the positions regarding the Net Stripped Value (NSV).

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA: “No because the local sugar is brought directly to the mill so they don’t have any cost of transportation to include to them rather than those that hold the license to distribute to the supermarkets or to the other grocery stores so BSI doesn’t incur any transportation on the brown sugar on the local market.”

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