Economy — 06 June 2014 — by Adele Ramos

Bad road conditions continue in the north

Alfredo Ortega, chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), told Amandala today that cañeros continue to grapple with horrible roads, worsened by weekend rains.

Ortega said that some road repairs were done on the main arteries, but the majority of the roads are in terrible shape, causing delays in delivery.

“Farmers are struggling,” Ortega said.

He informed us that sugar cane farmers are now being paid BZ$43.04 on deliveries, which is 80% of the first estimate issued in November. They are hoping to add more to those receipts after negotiations with the management of the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), as part of their bid to BSI for additional sugar payments for bagasse used in cogeneration to supply power to their factory and the national grid.

Cañeros will be meeting at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, with the management of BSI, as they continue to lobby for additional payments.

Ortega said that BSI went from offering them nothing for the bagasse to offering 51 cents per ton of sugar cane delivered — but this is a far cry from their bid for $10.00 per ton.

“What we are looking forward is to adjust the payment per ton of cane. We will be asking for more than the 51 cents,” Ortega told us.

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