The Belize Sugar Farmers and the Belize Sugar Indusrty are in a bitter situation. Since December of last year BSCFA and B.S.I. were negotiating business. Farmers wants to be payed as the bagasse is being use as fuel in the factory, which produces electricty as a bio-fuel for BELCOGEN. B.S.I. said that they will not pay the farmers. On September, BSCFA refused to negotiate in the table when B.S.I. refuse to address the issue of giving economic benefits of producing Bagasse by B.S.I.. On Monday B.S.I. said that they will not be engaging in any revenue discussing and sharing anything about the bagasse. This week, the farmers are making an urging to BSI to enter into talks before things get even worst with the farmers. The farmers says that B.S.I. had signed a contract for fifteen years with Belize Electric Limited. Oscar Alonso, C.E.O of BSCFA, said that if B.S.I conitues to act in bad faith, they are well prepared to forced down cane deliveries.
On November 25th the operating mill will begin to operate before it even gets any worst. Farmers mentioned that without no signing their will be no craps. B.S.I. and the people, were called to end this matter peacefully and to bring this negotiatable to the table. On November 2nd their was a meeting with two of the divisions. The Orange Walk division met on the second for a meeting. On the tenth of November Corozal division met for a meeting and both passed a resolution. It was given a mandate to sign an agreement with B.S.I., unless an agreement is being made on the payment for Bagasse. If their is no agreement before crop season, their will be no crop. Then their will be no commencement of crop delivery, that is the Mandate given.
The mandate is that we won't start crop is we don't sign any agreement with BSI and in the agreement it has to include bagasse in it. We are asking and calling on BSI to come and let us dialogue because it is not only the cane farmers that will lose, it will be the industry as whole. We are calling on them to come and let us negotiate. I Think the answer that they have given is no, they will not be sharing with us, I think that is a real slap to the face of the farmers."
Oscar Alonso, C.E.O., Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association
"We are not putting our foot down, we are extending a hand. We are saying look come let us sit down together." But in that same agreement has twenty-nine pages and on page twenty-nine, there is a clear statement there that binds both parties to come to the table and discuss or negotiate any by-product that will have commercial value and that based on those discussions then we will share the revenues from the proceeds of those by-products. But B.S.I. is saying is that they have invested in BELCOGEN and as such we don’t have any right to any return on the profit and it is that investment that created the value of the bagasse. You have used part of that bagasse to provide energy to your plant to produce sugar and molasses and we have also been used by farmers to spread in our fields for fertilizer and the rest has been disposed of—burning so as not to contaminate the environment. But it is the market that has created that value of the bagasse. Without that market, B.S.I. would not have made that investment. and BELCOGEN for BELCOGEN to supply nine mega watts of energy to B.S.I. So that then adds up to about twenty-five and their capacity is at about thirty-two mega watts of energy that they can produce. So that market then enables B.S.I. to determine what size of investment they need to take. We now have a new set of executives that come in and try to interpret that according to their own personal discretion. No…that is intolerable; that is unfair. What we are simply saying, let’s stick to what is provided in the existing agreement. Don’t come and turn around and say look, we only take the first twenty-eight pages of the agreement and forget about the twenty-ninth page. When ASR came in, we extended them a hand. WIn fact, before they even came and presented proposal of what they intended to do, we alerted them to the fact that look you are buying this factory with this agreement. This agreement calls for the negotiation of a new agreement and also for the bagasse."
BSI sent out a letter on Tuesday were the farmers were invited for a meeting on November 19th. The meeting will be based upon negotating and discuss about everything Except Baggase, in Belize City.
In late September, thefarmers requested a meeting to discuss about bagasse.