Yesterday BSI/ASSR held a meeting at the conference room of Belize Sugar Industries Ltd in Orange Walk Town to present to stakeholders the results of the investigation on the loss of molasses due to what is referred to as the Millaird Reaction. BSI/ASSR estimates that as a result of the Millaird reaction and due to the quality of cane received with high levels of reducing sugars combined with high ambient temperatures during the 2016 crop, that 3900 tons of molasses was lost. Oscar Alonzo of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association spoke to Love News on the issue.
“Yesterday they called a meeting of all the stakeholders to inform them of the investigation and the extent of the law. The report there was that ________ and molasses was affected and that would no longer be able to be exported. We are making a request to the Department of the Environment to give us the results of contamination.”
BSI has included this loss in its estimated cane price for the second payment to cane farmers for the crop year 2015/2016. This loss amounts to four hundred and thirty two thousand six hundred and sixty six dollars, of which sixty five percent is to be absorbed by cane farmers and the remaining thirty five percent by the Belize Sugar Industries. Therefore, the loss on the estimated price of cane is twenty two cents which places the estimated average price for the second payment as forty eight dollars and eight cents per ton as opposed to forty eight dollars and thirty cents per ton. Alonzo says the ratio of responsibility is outrageous and unacceptable.
“Informed us about the cane prices for the second payment. Now what we were surprised is that they included that loss in the calculation of this cane price estimate. We felt that it was not correct, we felt that it was not a good trading practice because in the agreement that we signed last year the commercial agreement it specified that one of the ________ stated that once the cane is received by them and it is called they become the owners of that cane. So it follows that any product that is derived from the cane then becomes their sole property and they are responsible for that during the manufacturing and storing stages. So we do not have any control or any supervision of that, that is their sole domain. We are saying that this loss occurred in those two processes so it’s not fair to ask the farmers to share the loss of that in the proportion of 65%/25%.”
The Belize Cane Farmers Association has objected to the sharing of this loss and has stated that it should be borne completely by BSI and that an independent study of the Molasses be conducted. BSCFA further pointed out that the estimated price used to calculate the revenues from the export of molasses is less than the price reflected in the contract with the buyers of molasses. Cane farmers are expected to receive their second payment of sugar cane on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Present at yesterday’s meeting were the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA), Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association (PSCPA), BSI Officials, and representatives of the Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC), the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) and the Sugar Industry Research & Development Institute.