The start of the sugar cane season seemed to be in the immediate horizon after the farmers met and, after much deliberation, agreed to accept the 51 cents per ton of sugar cane proposed by the Belize Sugar Industry and their partner the American Sugar Refiners. This was only after the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association shifted many of their positions and dropped several others, including their position on the bagasse debate, all in an attempt to start the crop season as quickly as possible. This of course left it open for their members to accuse them of betraying the interest of the cañeros.But after much heated debates the members agreed to accept the proposal.
The next step was to take it to the attorneys of both parties to have the matter official drafted out and signed. This was projected to take place by the middle of this week however up until Thursday nothing has been signed. That is because BSI/ASR in their final proposal, introduced an old position that had been dropped earlier in the negotiations this year.
Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman of the BSCFA explained, via phone.
“The matter is that in the negotiations it was [decided] that the SCPC would be the party that would be in charge of the harvesting and quality of the system.
BSI would be involved in some areas of that.
We are firm on that matter because we believe that a third party should be one in that area. We will keep firm on that because that was the decision.
That was the final negotiation we had, that the SCPC would be in charge of the harvesting system.”
And because it had been dropped previously it was never agreed upon by the farmers. BSCFA has since sent the proposal back saying they will not accept it. BSCFA’s Alfredo Ortega says this is an outright disrespect.
“I believe so because, as you know, there were three points that were presented to the farmers, and this point of harvest delivery control unit was already removed long ago, and placing it back means that they are not acting in good faith.”
BSCFA are hoping for a favorable response from BSI tomorrow in order to start the crop season.