Belize
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B.S.I. Reservedly Agrees to Commission of Inquiry

Jun 15, 2023

B.S.I. Reservedly Agrees to Commission of Inquiry

Mac McLachlan

The Minister of Agriculture and the executive of the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association are both of the opinion that the only way the sugar industry will see improvement is if a Commission of Inquiry is launched. Now, there are deferring views as to the purpose of the inquiry. B.S.I. certainly does not agree with having an inquiry to flesh out the commercial agreement and Fairtrade matters, as the company’s Vice-President explained today.

Mac McLachlan, Country Manager/Vice President, A.S.R./B.S.I.

“We had a conversation with the cabinet and we agreed quite clearly that we would be prepared to participate and cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry that’s looking at modernizing the industry. Explicitly, this is not about the commercial agreement, so other people are saying it is, it’s not the agreement. The agreement is, and this really is necessary as to the earlier part of our conversation. We need to modernize this business and we need to help the farmers to modernize, to work in larger units, to have maybe more cooperatives, block farming, these types of things that are going to bring more value to the farmers at the moment. Harvesting and delivery costs twice as much in the north of the country as it does in the west. You know, that’s there’s a win if we can try and look at things like that. So there are so many things that are in our own hands. I think a Commission of Inquiry is essential for looking at how we modernize the industry. Maybe getting somebody in who could, who’s done this before, who’s got a track record and can, you know, come about with a transformation strategy essentially in the cane farm, to improve things there. I think we’ve proven with this mill, especially this year, this is a grade A mill. It’s working very well.”