Rumors spread like wildfire this morning that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association would be decertified by Fair Trade due to a number of irregularities found during an intensive audit conducted by members of FLOCERT. If you have been following the ups and downs in the industry over the past year or two then you might know that if the rumor turns out to be true this would mean that the BSCFA would be suspended from receiving Fair Trade premiums for the second time.
The first decertification occurred in March 2009 under the Chairmanship of Eric Eck. The BSCFA was decertified because of 28 non-compliances including mismanagement and lack of accountability.
On January 8th 2010 the suspension was lifted and the BSCFA was re-certified after they managed to rectify the non-conformities. So will Fair Trade pull out from Belize? That’s what we tried to find out this morning and when we spoke to Chairman of the BSCFA Alfredo Ortega he told us that the reports are just rumors and nothing has been confirmed by Fair Trade.
Ortega told CTV3 News that the BSCFA is still waiting for the final results of the audit conducted by members of FLOCERT, and that despite the fact that FLOCERT conducts the audit, Fair trade is the body which will make the final decision about any decertification.
Of note is that if the BSCFA is de-certified it will be a great loss for cane farmers because millions of dollars will no longer be available to them for the betterment of the Sugar Industry.