By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The 2014-2015 sugar season may start as early as next Friday after the general assembly of the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association accepted the latest proposal made by Belize Sugar Industries on Sunday.
The cañeros met at Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in Corozal, where they agreed to the proposal brokered with BSI by Prime Minister Dean Barrow last week.
Ezekiel Cansino, chief executive officer of the BSCFA, explained that with the proposal now accepted, their attorneys can now draft up the necessary paperwork.
“We will communicate the acceptance to BSI so our attorney’s can draft up an agreement to be signed either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday,” Cansino said, “after that we are hoping to get the crop started hopefully Friday.”
Vice Chair of the BSCFA, Alfredo Ortega, explained that he is disappointed that the farmers accepted BSI’s proposal without further negotiation, because he feels that a better deal could have been worked out.
“We have sent two year in negotiation just to arrive back at square one,” Ortega said.
He added that with the poor condition of the sugar roads, he is hopeful but thinks it unlikely that the season will begin by Friday.
The farmers agreed to three essential points at the meeting, first that they would commit to the agreement with no room for negotiations before three years; second, that within a year BSI, the Government of Belize and the other stake holders must come together to draft a sugar industry sustainability policy; and lastly, that they concede that the factory owns the cane at the point of sale.