BSI-BSCFA negotiations drag on

There seems to be no end insight for the negotiations between cane farmers and Belize Sugar Industries Limited, as farmers continue to agree to start the 2013-2014 crop without BSI put their agreement to negotiate a price for bagasse in writing.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer Joey Montalvo wrote the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association’s Chairman Leonardo Cano on Tuesday to say that the company is prepared to “negotiate and make payment for bagasse at a quantum to be determined through negotiations, if possible.”
The letter also states that BSI “expects the discussions to take some time.” The letter said the company committed its “best efforts to conclude these negotiations no later than the end of the 2013/2014 crop season.”
Montalvo’s letter also states: “A new cane purchase agreement would be finalized that would clarify ownership of cane and all its components upon delivery to the mill.”
BSI is clearly stating its position that its wants to legally own the cane once it has paid for it.
The cane farmers, however, are looking at a formula of profit sharing, whereby they would share in the earnings from all byproducts from the cane.
BSI also wants the farmers to agree that any negotiated agreement would not prejudice either party’s legal position.
The cane farmers have responded with press release saying B.S.I. is trying to hoodwink them into accepting BSI’s condition that the payment would finally resolve the issue of payment for by-products under the Memorandum of Understanding, in exchange for a yet unknown amorphous payment for their bagasse.” The release accuses B.S.I. of stalling the start of this year’s crop by delaying the negotiations and by now refusing an unconditional payment for bagasse.
But even if there was an agreement between the two parties, BSCFA Chief Executive Officer Oscar Alonzo reported that the sugar roads are in an even worse condition than two weeks ago.
Many roads from the villages are barely trafficable by four-wheel drive tractors and other all-terrain vehicles, but are certainly in no condition to be traversed by heavily laden cane trucks.
No official word was available from the Ministry of Works of which sugar roads the ministry has begun to repair. Alonzo excuses this, as the heavy rains have not permitted any work to begin.

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