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BSI/ASR official says Strategic Development plan for sugar industry needs to be finalized

Vice President, BSI/ASR Group Mac McLachlan says that they are not proposing any changes in the way the revenue is shared with farmers, adding that the only change would be additional money to go around. The company has made out a list of things it seeks clarity on in the Commercial Agreement. Among these would include delinking the contract from the signature of a Strategic Development Plan (SDP) while retaining this as an important aspiration for the industry; maintaining the current arrangement for the payment of bagasse; providing clarity on the BSCFA’s ability to engage in discussions on the revenue stream of any new by-product or which may replace sugar and molasses production available for sale. But BSCFA is saying that without the Strategic Development Plan, the agreement needs to be revisited. So why has the Strategic Development plan not been finalized? McLachlan says he does not know.

Mac McLachlan – Vice President, BSI/ASR Group
“I don’t know. We were very committed to SDP and I think this next stage of investment we are talking about fundamentally is what we would have called stage two of the SDP, it’s about optimizing the mill. The SDP the last time we were due to meet which was a long time ago, now I believe was just at the point where we had some protests outside this factory during the reaction of the molasses at which point the government wrote and said unless the industry is serious it doesn’t see any point in proceeding with this SDP discussion. As I recall that was the last time we met but I don’t think this is a time of pointing fingers at anybody. We are trying to move in a sensible direction which is going to protect the interest of everybody in this industry. I said before the mill doesn’t stand alone, the cane farmers don’t stand alone we need each other. We’ve come up with what I think is the best solution in the scheme of things.”

McLachlan says there are not many options which is why the industry stakeholders need to enhance its efficiencies.

Mac McLachlan – Vice President, BSI/ASR Group
“We can’t change global pricing, it’s not within our gift so if we can try to improve the value of the product we produce here and if we can open our markets more say in European and the Caribbean I think that is a very coping strategy for where we are at the moment. Many other things need to be done. You asked about the SDP you know we all have to look at our efficiencies all of us, the mill particularly the logistics but also farmers as well because at the end of the day the amount of cane your produce on a piece of land will dictate what revenue you get for that business. There are better ways of producing cane, there are more efficient ways of producing cane on less land which will help farmers to improve their livelihoods.”