New Associations Sign Agreement

BSI/ASR called an impromptu press briefing on Thursday, where they signed what BSI’s Belizario Carballo categorized as a historical agreement. The agreement was signed with the United Cane Farmers Association and the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association.

Belizario Carballo was one of the key signatories for ASR.

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vlcsnap-2015-01-16-06h12m55s94Belizario Carballo – Financial Controller, BSI

“Indeed it is a historic occasion. I think it marks the start of what we hope and expect to be a very productive, constructive partnership with the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association as a recognized player, new stakeholder in the sugar industry of Belize.

This process, in fact, was initiated by the gentleman here to my left, Mr Wilfredo Magaña, who heads the United Cane Farmers Association, which we understand has partnered with the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association in this current initiative. Mr Magaña had, in fact, initiated the process with the United Cane Farmers  Association, along with Mr Vincente Canul from Corozal, in challenging the exclusivity of the just one association at the time.”

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Wilfredo Magaña, who heads the United Cane Farmers Association, led a movement to challenge the exclusivity of BSCFA. That challenge lead to the consent order of 2010. He marked this day as a dream come true.

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vlcsnap-2015-01-16-06h14m14s106Wilfredo Magaña – United Cane Farmers Association

“I’ve been hearing that they’re blaming the Prime Minister for dividing the Association, but I think we were divided long before 2008.  That was one of the reasons why myself and four other colleagues took the sugar [industry] up to the Supreme Court, because it compels  us to belong to one group, even though they were doing so bad, but we had to be under that group,  and for some time we were kind of being discouraged. But today’s vision was what maintained us together to be able to go there to the end.

I’d like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the people who make this occasion possible, BSI, cane farmers, [and] the Government, because the Government is a player in the industry.

Here we are, just feeling good that it pays off, after so much stress.”

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Vicente Canul shared the same dream and so he went off and started the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers association. He died a few years ago, but his son Elvis Canul now heads that group.

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vlcsnap-2015-01-16-06h15m42s124Vincente Canul – Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association

“The pioneers of this may not see it, but our children will have the opportunity to benefit from these changes that are being made today. 

I have been privileged to be the interim chair of the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association, and today marks a new beginning for our farmers, and we commit with them that we will be at the very most forefront for their benefit in the growth of the industry.”

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The two groups have intentions of amalgamating their two associations. as for the agreement that they signed on Thursday, according to International Relation’s Advisor for ASR Mac McLachlan, it is the same agreement that the BSCFA members agreed to sign in December

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vlcsnap-2015-01-16-06h17m12s179Mac McLachlan – International Relations Advisor for American Sugar Refiners

“The agreement is exactly the same as the one that was on the table in December.  We’ve all made compromises on the three particular issues.  [Concerning] the one of duration, the BSCFA has asked to have a brake clause for three years.  That exists.  They has asked that there could be a reconsideration of the bagasse payment, should BELCOGEN become profitable, and we agreed with that.  They also said, if there were any new by-products,  that came as a result of their sugar cane that we would negotiate and discuss those issues.

We agreed to all of those points, and on that basis we’re very prepared to move ahead, and we are prepared to move ahead.

The agreement remains exactly the same, and we have no intention of changing that agreement.”

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Belizario Carballo anticipates that more players will be coming forward to sign the agreement.

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Belizario Carballo  

“Going forward we will be seeing other players be part of the industry.  It signals a new beginning for the industry in terms of opportunities for collaboration, for working together between producers, cane farmers producing sugar cane, and the miller producing sugar.

So with those few words I just wanted to say that we’re very pleased that this morning we are signing a new agreement with the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association, and we look forward to signing other agreements with other entities, groups of farmers, so that we are able to start the crop as early as possible.”

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The two Associations now represent an estimated 300 cane farmers, who together can produced 100 thousand tons of sugar cane. The Sugar industry control board has reported that up to Thursday farmers have been visiting their offices expressing interest to form individual reaping. At this point the total amount of sugar cane that can be delivered is estimated at 490 thousand tons. The mill needs a minimum of 5 thousand tons of cane to be delivered daily to start a crop.
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