BSI ASR made a move to bypass the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association in negotiations. About 400 individual farmers attended that meeting held by BSI ASR to hear this proposal for individual negotiations, but according to BSCFA, farmers went at the consent of the association, and went there with the purpose of getting information.
Reports are that there are some farmers that appear inclined to sign the agreement, which BSI is proposing directly to the cane farmers, but according to BSCFA, they have the support of the majority of the cane farmers. BSCFA executives in an interview with the media conceded that farmers are free to make their own choices, but at the same time warned that negotiations would be better done as an association and not individually.
On Friday a letter from the office of the Belize Sugar Industry, gave farmers a deadline for when to sign the agreement. The letter states that BSI acknowledges that farmers need time to review the agreement and so BSI is proposing to extend the consultation period until Tuesday 18th.
It also states that quote “ Following receipt and consideration of these responses, BSI will issue a final agreement by Friday 21 November. Where BSI has not been able to accommodate suggested changes, a full explanation will be provided. The signed agreements either by group of farmers or individual farmers are to be sent to BSI by Friday 28 November.”
BSI says they are urging a bit of haste to avoid a costly delay to the start of the crop season. It says that “Following the cut-off date of Friday 28 November, BSI will be assessing if sufficient cane has been signed up for an effective start of crop. As explained, a minimum sugar cane supply of 6,000 tons per day is required to effectively operate the Tower Hill Sugar Mill. If this is achieved, BSI will subsequently inform participating cane farmers of arrangements for the start of the 2014/15 crop. We recognize the timetable is tight but necessary if we are to avoid any undue and costly delay to the start of crop. “
BSI is proposing that the signed agreements can be done by either a group of Farmers or individual farmers.