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On Monday November 4th, cane farmers will receive their third and final payment for the 2018/2019 cane crop season. The amount stands between six dollars and sixty cents to seven dollars and twelve cents, which is reportedly higher than that of last year which stood somewhere between five dollars and eighty cents and six dollars and sixty cents. Figures reflecting the estimated cane prices for the entire crop season shows that the total amount of tons per sugar cane milled by BSI/ASR was 1.2 million.


The total revenue paid to cane farmers including the underpayment provision, which includes sugars that was not sold last year, calculated to a total of $64,994,135, taking the average cane price to a total of $50.12. All these figures together with the payment quantum for bagasse which stood at $489,675 resulted in over $65 million for the overall revenue of the 2018/2019 crop season.


With the last payment being higher than that of last year we asked Shadow Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai to weigh in on the price.


joseHon. Jose Mai – Shadow Minister, Ministry of Agriculture


“I saw the information being released by ASR and the Associations yesterday, well am third payment will be seven dollars per ton, my branch San Lazaro get $7.10 per ton other branches will get six dollars and so on depends on the quality of the cane you delivered, it is what we expected we didn’t expect ten dollars because we know the prices is low in the world market.”


Reporter


“Is it higher of that from last year or how is the comparison?”


Hon. Jose Mai – Shadow Minister, Ministry of Agriculture


“A dollar higher, that is what the cane farmers are getting a dollar higher but this year he had the low prices, then we had the drought, the competent authorities are saying that 30% to 50% losses to sugar cane is expected and now we have worms eating the cane, every dollar you put into cane right now you are not getting back.”


Nonetheless, Mai says that one of his main concerns has nothing to do with the prices fetched from the world market but rather prices paid by BSI/ASR for molasses.


Hon. Jose Mai – PUP Shadow Minister, Ministry of Agriculture


”I am worried about the price that ASR says they are receiving for the molasses because I know for a fact that molasses are selling for a better price than they are reporting other companies are selling molasses in the Caribbean countries for a better price than what ASR is selling so I have a problem with that but you see molasses done trade on the market like sugar which trade on the London stock market and New York market, molasses doesn’t trade like that.”


The second concern is that of the cost reportedly incurred by BSI/ASR during the yearly crop season. Mai explains why.


Hon. Jose Mai – PUP Shadow Minister, Ministry of Agriculture


“My other concern is the cost that BSI says I have a serious problem with that for example; local handling, local handling last year was at 11.5 million dollars, local handling again I repeat is moving the sugar by barge remember they bought a new boat and they called it sugar pride, well that sugar pride is being used to drive the barge and that is what you call the local handling and associated to that are other charging like stevedoring, supervising, analyzing, surveying some very rare cost that they say they incur. Last year that figure was at 5 million dollars and this year that cost increased by almost 12 to 13% how that grew up I don’t know because you can’t say the price of fuel went up because they have duty free fuel the only difference that I see is that can increase a little is that this year we produce 12, 000 tons of sugar more.”


As previously reported, it is anticipated that the 2019/2020 cane crop season will commence until January 2020 instead of December 2019 due to the current challenges brought about by the drought coupled with the invasion of grass loopers.

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