Sugar Cane Farmers in the north were threatening to strike against the Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) due to several concerns about production. Love News understands that the protest was scheduled to occur today but was called off after the association and BSI came to an agreement. According to the Chairman of the Belize Cane Farmers Association, Alfredo Ortega, there was a meeting with BSI representatives today where these issues were ventilated.
Alfredo Ortega, Orange Walk Branch Chairman, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association: “The protest was being based in regard to the slowness of deliveries how the mill was operating or the past few days because we had about sixty hours to deliver one trip of cane and those delays really had made the drivers mad, well not only the drivers but the cane cutters because you’re only delivering between two to three trips per week so those were our issues that were triggering this situation that a protest was about to become. But last night and today the mill has been operating much better and we had a meeting today with them on which they said they have seen that things will be normalizing from now so we will be looking forward into that to see what will happen from now ongoing.”
Ortega also stated that the second cane price estimate per ton of cane was given to them which reflects an increase in payments.
Alfredo Ortega, Orange Walk Branch Chairman, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association: “What we are getting right now is $36.35 which is for the 85% of the first estimate, it should have been $35.35 but it was asked by the association to be given a dollar more per ton and BSI well agreed to do so. So we are getting $36.35 but yesterday the second cane price estimate came out and it’s in the vicinity of $43.39 cents so it went up about a dollar and seventy cents.”
Alfredo Ortega noted that the drought of last year has affected the quality of the sugar cane crop and with a delay in delivering cane further degrades the quality.