Record Sugar Cane Farmer Dividends Welcomed by Prime Minister Briceno
Prime Minister John Briceno says the increase of dividends to the sugar cane farmers is welcoming and great news. On Monday, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI/ASR) announced that, as a result of favorable world market condition, they were able to pay cane farmers a record price of eighty-six dollars and twenty-eight cents per ton. The increment signals a lot of productivity in the industry. Minister Briceno commends The Belize Sugar industry for making the necessary investments in order to get to where they are.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “If you notice we produce less sugar but collect probably about the same amount just a few thousand dollars off or maybe a million off which is great news. $85 per ton is a record price that we haven’t seen since we lost the quotas from the European Union. But it’s a combination of many things. We must commend BSI/ASR I know there has been this contention in Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association over their contract but they have been making the necessary investments in improving the quality of the sugar so now we have what you call the direct consumption sugar the DCS and the direct consumption sugars then allow us to get even a better price because that’s almost like refined sugar that’s why we were fighting with Trinidad and Tobago to buy our sugar. So a combination of things but our farmers need help and if there’s one thing we noticed this time because of the drought and the dryness is that you have to put the inputs, you have to put the fertilizers in there and unfortunately the members of the BSCFA because of contention with Fair Trade they did not get their Fair Trade money. But what I’m happy about is that BSI is realizing that when you do that once you kind of maybe – I don’t want to use the word punish that maybe not too harsh a word – when they do not encourage Fair Trade to work with the BSCFA at the end of the day all of us lose because the production goes down. We need to increase production. We don’t need to plant more cane but if we could increase production we could do a lot more and it would have been a lot better off.”
BSI informed the public of strategic investments that have been made to improve the value of the sugar as well as lowering shipping costs. The commercial agreement in the Belize Sugar Industry has been labeled as one of the most goal friendly agreements in the world according to the company’s chief financial officer.