Tonight, we can report that there is more trouble in the sugar industry as a late evening press release fired off by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association belts out a response to a notice issued by ASR/BSI twelve days ago, in which the ASR warns that if the BSCFA opts out of the current cane purchasing agreement, BSI would not be able to accept cane from their members.
The nearly 700-word release from the BSCFA doesn’t take the warning lightly, and in fact, declares that they consider the message as a threat and act of intimidation on their members. In their release, the BSCFA claims that the threat seeks to cause fear among members and to force them to accept the non-negotiable terms of ASR/BSI’s proposed cane purchase agreement.
The Association adds that the BSCFA has not ended its agreement with BSI/ASR and as long as this does not happen, their members have all rights to deliver cane.
The Association declares that they will be seeking legal recourse to block any attempt by BSI/ASR to deny any of their members the right to deliver cane.
The BSCFA then fires off its own warning to BSI/ASR, indicating that while their members may indeed become fearful of being denied access to deliver to the mill, this fear might fuel rage in the cane farming community that [quote] “BSI could regret” [unquote].
The Association’s release concludes by accusing BSI of harassing members of the BSCFA and attempting to push them to form their own associations.
The exchange in sharp battle words between the largest cane farmers’ association and the owners of the mill is over a stalemate in negotiations over a revised cane purchasing agreement. BSI/ASR wants to introduce amendments and lock a deal up to 2022, but the BSCFA wants its own revisions which includes re-opening negotiations over a profit-sharing agreement for Bagasse.
The BSCFA is the only association who has not agreed to accept the cane purchase agreement proposed by BSI/ASR.
The Association further calls on BSI to join in negotiations in order to resolve the matter.