Contraband Sugar Remains a Concern in Belize
And while the farmers may be celebrating higher payout for sugar cane, the contrabanding of sugar is still a major concern. Over the past few months, there have been issues with the availability of sugar, as neighboring countries see Belizean sugar as a cost-effective option to buying their own sugar locally. Chavarria, spoke on the issue today, noting that any discussions need to be had at the government level to address the issue.
Shawn Cahvarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “Control of supplies in terms of getting more information, who we supply sugar to, the amount. So we provided some information. We’ve shared some market information as well in terms of what the region they’re paying for sugar but that’s really still a decision that’s left up to government and Cabinet to make. We’ve heard the comments from the minister we think they’ve been studying and in a sense validating what we’ve been saying in terms of how our sugar prices compares to the region and then the impact it’s also having on the domestic market where people are taking the sugar across the border because they can fetch better prices that’s really a reflection of the fact that the prices here in Belize are below world market so we do believe that they’re paying close attention to this and given the signals from the public comments that have been made we are optimistic that perhaps that will be something that in the near future will be acted upon.”
Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai has gone on record today that raising the price of sugar locally is the best way to address the issue of contraband, but that doing so would raise the cost of living even higher for Belizeans