We spoke via telephone to Cane Farmers’ Relations Manager at BSI, Olivia Avilez, concerning Mai’s claims against ASR/BSI. Here is here response.
Olivia Avilez, Manager at BSI: Well certainly BSI is appalled, honestly by the allegations that are being made and assertions that BSI stealing or owes the farmers 11.5 million dollars because our process of transparency to our farmers if through our cane price letters and through our commercial agreement. Now, our commercial agreement with farmers is very clear, what we do is we share the gross revenues of sugars, for example, if we produce 6 types of sugars, we share the gross revenue of that after the shipping cost, and after the shipping costs, the shipping costs are usually from the factory to the port of Belize, to the customer’s port. We have different arrangements of how to get this sugar to the customer’s port, and in some cases, we have a CIF arrangement, which means a cost insurance and freight. In certain cases, we have an FOB, which is Free on Board shipping which means that the customer who we’re selling sugar to, will pay the freight to their port, and we are responsible as an industry to pay it and bring it on the vessel of that customer. So, these are our two arrangements, we don’t have a FAS arrangement, but we use FAS terms to show farmers in our cane price letter what the value of sugar is at the Belize Port.
Avilez added that BSI has contracts with the different buyers that stipulate what the delivery arrangements are. These contracts are not made public because they are agreements made between two entities; however, they are made available to the association to back up BSI’s net strip value statement. According to Avilez, Mai is making mischievous assertions against a company that is well established, ethical and transparent.
Olivia Avilez, Manager at BSI: The associations certainly know every step from these cane price estimates. This will be really the forth cane price estimate that will be issued. We’ve had meetings with them and we’ve also sent them a clarification letter regarding these terms. We negotiated the commercial agreement so that they know what we’re talking about. The assertions being made by Mr. Mai, are in my opinion, mischievous, but we take it very seriously because these are serious allegations made against a company that is well established. It’s ethical, transparent, we have audits every year, we provide audits of the process of the association; I personally handed the audit statement from last year to the three association chairmen and we will do so again this coming August. We are audited by Fairtrade which is the small farmer organization certification. When they come to audit the farmers, and the process they do, they also come to audit BSI, which we cover those audit costs as well and they audit the supply chain. The first thing that they ask us is our commercial agreement that we have signed with the association.
. Plus News will continue to follow this story as it develops.