Belize
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B.S.I. Clarifies Fairtrade Premiums Payment Methodology

Apr 20, 2023

B.S.I. Clarifies Fairtrade Premiums Payment Methodology

On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai told News Five that B.S.C.F.A. had been cut out of its share of Fairtrade premium for sugar sold by B.S.I. to Tate and Lyle Sugars. Today, A.S.R./B.S.I. issued a release confirming that T.L.S. does not purchase Fairtrade sugar from B.S.C.F.A. because of a breakdown in their relationship. In fact, on April eighteenth and nineteenth, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and Tate and Lyle Sugars met at the B.S.C.F.A. Orange Walk Office to discuss next steps to renew their Fairtrade relationship and rebuild transparency and trust.  Fairtrade International along with CLAC—the regional support for Fairtrade associations—facilitated and oversaw the discussions. According to the release, “During the meeting, both T.L.S. and B.S.C.F.A. reaffirmed their commitment to the shared, overarching objective of improving the livelihoods of cane farmers and strengthening the viability of the sugar industry.” Under the rules of Fairtrade, all parties are obligated to maintain the standards which guide the Fairtrade relationship and the payment of premiums to certified associations and as such, Fairtrade premiums have been duly paid by T.L.S. to the certified producer associations in Belize with which T.L.S. has an agreement.  This is not to be confused with the commercial agreement B.S.I. has with associations for the purchase of sugarcane. The release goes on to say that “No association has been overpaid or given what is due to another. Fairtrade operates under a mass balance concept that focuses only on quantities of sugar and permits the mixing of sugar from different producers.  The Fairtrade sugar that T.L.S. buys from Belize is based on the production by certified associations with which T.L.S. has signed agreements.” The release ends by saying that an association that does not have an agreement concerning a Fairtrade premium is not entitled to a premium and that T.L.S. continues to engage with the B.S.C.F.A. to meet the principles to renew the relationship that would facilitate an agreement.