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#412352 - 07/23/11 02:22 PM Sugar smuggling? Cheaper price in Belize
Marty Offline

Damian Gough

The reason for the smuggling of sugar across the borders is because the sweet stuff is more expensive in the neighboring countries and offers agents a bigger profit margin. One suggestion is to increase the price of the sugar locally, making it less attractive to the Mexican and Guatemalan businessmen. According to Gough, it’s worked in the past, but it’s not the best idea in the current economic climate.

Via Phone: Damian Gough, Marketing Officer, B.S.I.

“Just across the border in Chetumal, we understand based on information that is available to us that a pound of sugar sells for a dollar and forty cents. The controlled price here in Belize is roughly fifty cents. And so you have an opportunity to move sugar across the border because of those high prices, then you will do that. So for us, the ultimate solution to try to minimize or curb the high levels of cross border trade is to look at some way of maybe bringing up the price. I know that that isn’t something that would be well received, given the economic climate, but on a strictly economic basis, that would at the end of the day be the ultimate solution. The current prices that are in place for sugar in Belize have been in place since 2000, that’s eleven years now. The last time we had this level of high contraband was in 1998-99 and the solution was to take the price up and when we did that we saw the contraband drop off considerably after that and that was the last time that the government of the day then allowed for a price increase in sugar.”

Delahnie Bain

“So is this something that we will see happening soon or is it a last resort type of thing?”

Via Phone: Damian Gough

“It’s something that has been discussed and for now has been agreed that it will not happened. But again, like I said, that is primarily because of the current economic conditions that we’re living under where everything is already pretty high priced. So for now it’s not something that people can expect to see in the short or medium term but it’s something that we would explore if we want to adequately curtail the high levels of cross border trade.”

B.S.I. is asking anyone with information on the illegal sugar trade to call the consumer protection hotline to help reduce the outflow.

Channel 5


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#412353 - 07/23/11 02:23 PM Re: Sugar smuggling? Cheaper price in Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

B.S.I. says measures being taken to counter sugar shortage

Earlier you heard the exchange in the House about Banco Atlantida’s proposal to buy majority shares in the Belize Sugar Industries that is cash strapped and unable to meet loan commitments. That deal is still on the table but there is another matter that is causing frustration to consumers. That’s because this sugar cane crop ended earlier than expected, causing a three thousand ton shortfall on the production target. Still the thirteen thousand, five hundred and thirty-three tons of sugar that were produced exceeds the average local demand. But there is no sugar in some stores and consumers are complaining daily about a shortage, which admittedly is caused by illegal exports across the borders to Mexico and Guatemala. According to B.S.I. marketing officer, Damian Gough, seven thousand, three hundred and twenty-four tons of sugar has been sold so far, leaving six thousand one hundred and forty tons to last until the start of the next sugar cane crop. Gough maintains that it should be more than enough… IF they can get the contraband situation under control. He told us via phone today that certain measures are being taken to keep the sugar on this side of the border.

Damian Gough

Via phone: Damian Gough, Marketing Officer, B.S.I.

“We will, of course need to continue monitoring the situation very closely. We will of course need to continue with the control measures that we have in place whereby we have specific quotas issued to distributors and wholesalers and business people and so on. It certainly doesn’t mean that there will be a free for all because we’ve produced the amount of sugar that the market normally needs, but there will still need to be a degree of vigilance particularly from stakeholders and even some of the enforcement authorities to try to do our best to curb the amount of sugar that goes across the border.”

Delahnie Bain

“It also says here that B.S.I. is considering directly delivering to major supermarkets.”

Via phone: Damian Gough

“That’s an option we’re considering because we know particularly in Belize City, the biggest area of complaint seems to be that you can’t get sugar on the super market shelves. We are exploring the possibilities, we’ve been discussing it here of perhaps engaging some of the bigger supermarkets directly to try to see how we can get a little bit more sugar to them.”

Delahnie Bain

“Are there any other control measures that are being put in place?”

Via phone: Damian Gough

“For now, no. I believe at the next meeting of the committee, there will be an attempt to try to get the Customs people more involved. But for now, those are the measures that are being implemented. We have produced a little more, we will continue to maintain the controls that we have in place with the quota systems and the committee that has been established will be working vigilantly to try to monitor the distribution system that’s in place to make sure that if its necessary for redistribution to occur, that the consumers start getting the sugar relatively easier.”

And while the sugar at B.S.I. are expected to be sufficient, Gough says they are considering starting the next crop season early if the weather permits.

Channel 5


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#412503 - 07/26/11 03:46 PM Re: Sugar smuggling? Cheaper price in Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
COMMITTEE TO ENSURE AVAILABILITY OF SUGAR ON LOCAL MARKET APPOINTED

The Ministry of Agriculture today announced the appointment of a Marketing Committee charged with ensuring the availability of sugar on the local market. According to a government press release, the new committee will work with the Belize Bureau of Standards and other relevant authorities to ensure that there is a year round supply of sugar to consumers. Among the initiatives being put in place immediately includes the implementation of controls from the primary supply source with a priority to supplying sugar to legitimate business operators and industrial users. The records and patters for current distributors, both wholesalers and retailers will be analyzed to verify sales patterns within the local market and to identify possible options for re-distribution to ensure consumers are able to get sugar. The government statement also says that BSI is being instructed to stop the sale of sugar to distributors, wholesalers and retailed who refuse to submit sales records or whose sales records cannot satisfactorily account for the sale or distribution of sugar. The Marketing Committee will also be liaising with the Customs Department to identify and penalize those persons who are engaged in the illegal cross-border trade of sugar into neighboring Mexico and Guatemala. The government statement says that reliable sources indicate that the scarcity of sugar on the local market is the result of cross-border trade where sugar prices are lucrative in Mexico and Guatemala. The Belize Bureau of Standards is asking the general public to assist in reporting the identity of those individuals or entities engage in the transportation of sugar across our borders. The Bureau’s Consumer Protection hotline is: 0-800-283-5587. Members of the new Marketing Committee include representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited.

LOVEFM

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