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#509494 - 11/28/15 05:18 AM Consumers Will Pay (Dearly) For Int’l Sugar Price Slump  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,612
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
The controlled price of sugar that you buy at the store will go up by 25 cents per pound. That's the decision that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega announced this afternoon when he came out of a meeting with the 3 cane farming associations and the factory owners.

As we've been telling you, this was what sugar industry stakeholders have been pushing for, ever since they found out that the price of sugar in the European market is down. It is a welcome decision to the farmers who say that they are teetering on financial ruin - but not very welcome for consumers who will see the price per pound go up from 50 cents to 75 cents. That's 33 percent more per pound - steep - which is likely to drive up prices for many food items made with sugar.

The cane farmers and the factory owners got the opportunity today to lobby for this increase at a meeting with the Sugar Industries Control Board and the Ministry of Agriculture. Now, to be specific, this meeting happens every year before the start of the crop season. The discussion usually centers around the work that Government does to improve the sugar roads, the 2 million dollars fuel subsidy for farmers, and the subsidized licensing of cane trucks. Coming out of the meeting today, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega told the press that the Government looked favorably on this increase to mitigate the effect of the low prices of sugar abroad:

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Agriculture
"The increase on locally consumed sugar which is a request that the cane farmers have been doing for probably for the past 2 crops. And today I think that was one of the most important lobbying that was being done and I want to announce that the government did approve the 25 cents increase per pound for our locally consumed sugar. Some people thought that probably it could be even more because of the price on the sugar in our neighboring countries which is Mexico and Guatemala and even at 75 cents per pound, we are still lower than the price sold in Chetumal or Melchor."

"When will it come into effect and what all need to happen to that to be imposed?"

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Agriculture
"As we speak both CEO and I are looking into getting the SI ready, sending it to the attorney general so that its approved and made law and hopefully we would be able to do that pretty quickly. That will assist them. That should be giving them something like $4.60 more per ton. So instead of $35.33 or something like that, they should probably get another $3. Because the $4.60 the way it works, BSI only pays a percentage upfront. You have to remember that ASR does not collect for the sugar until it's sold. So the first payment that they make it's not money that they have collected from the sugar that they will be selling. So they either have that in savings which I doubt, or they have to make a loan. So those are the challenges that the industry has to learn about."

All parties agree that the best start date for this upcoming season is December 7.

Channel 7

#509677 - 12/05/15 04:25 AM Re: Consumers Will Pay (Dearly) For Int’l Sugar Price Slump [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,612
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Increase in the Control Price for Plantation White Sugar

The Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, hereby informs the general public that effective January 1, 2016, Plantation White Sugar will retail at a maximum price of 75 cents per pound countrywide. A Statutory Instrument has been signed by the Minister responsible for Supplies Control dated December 4th, 2015 to give effect to this increase. While the GOB has maintained the controlled prices for sugar for more than a decade, this increase of 25 cents per pound is to allow the industry to earn a fair price in comparison to other producers in the region.

The Ministry reiterates that this price change becomes effective on January 1, 2016 and merchants are hereby warned to desist from adjusting retail prices before the above mentioned date. Furthermore, Sections 15 and 16 of the Supplies Control Regulations requires every retailer of any priced controlled goods to display for public viewing a list of approved maximum retail prices as well as clearly mark the retail price on the packaging of such price controlled goods offered for sale. The public is also advised that there is sufficient sugar in stock and all parties along the distribution chain are warned not to hoard sugar in an attempt to earn a price windfall from consumers.

Failure to comply with the Supplies Control Price Regulations will result in imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months, a fine of one thousand dollars ($1000.00), or to both such term of imprisonment and such fine.

For further information please call the SCU at 822-2665 or email at / should you have any questions or concerns.

José E. Trejo
Director/Controller of Supplies

Local Sugar Price Increase Takes Effect On New Year’s Day

A week ago, we told you about how the Government approved an increase in the price of local sugar. Well, the Belize Bureau of Standards announced today that the statutory instruments putting this price increase into effect has been signed.

A release from the Bureau says quote, "The Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture. hereby informs the general public that effective January 1, 2016, Plantation White Sugar will retail at a maximum price of 75 cents per pound countrywide. A Statutory Instrument has been signed by the Minister…"

That's a steep 50% increase, which will likely put a hurting on consumers, but it provides relief for the farmers who requested it to mitigate the losses that will result as a consequence of the low sugar prices in Europe.

Today, the factory owners, BSI/ASR was the first to release a statement welcoming the change noting the intended mitigation. The company also reiterated that Belize's prices for local sugar has been the lowest for decades when compared to countries in Central America and the Caribbean. According to them, this is the reason for the illegal cross-border sale of Belizean sugar by contrabandists who buy it cheap in Belize and sell it expensive to our neighbors. BSI also wrote a letter to the chairmen of the 3 cane farming associations notify them that the Government has delivered on the price increase promise.

But, whenever there's a price change, there's all kinds of hanky-panky that happens where the consumers are the ones to suffer. The release from the Bureau of Standards stresses that the price change takes effect on New Years day, January 1, 2016. This means that until that time, local retailers - meaning your nearest grocery shop owners - must sell a pound of sugar to you for 50 cents. They should not be selling it to you at 75 cents - that would be unlawful.

Additionally, the Bureau warns these shop owners not to try to hoard the sugar they currently have in stock to earn a price windfall when the new price takes effect on January 1. They remind that violators of these consumer protection statutes could be imprisoned for 6 months, fined a thousand dollars, or be sentenced to both punishments.

It is likely however, that some retailers may still try to scam consumers because enforcement by the Bureau of Standards is notoriously limited.

Channel 7

Sugar to increase to 75 cents per pound

Jose Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, confirmed to Amandala that a Statutory Instrument (SI) will be signed this week to increase the price of white sugar by 25 cents per pound; however, the increase will not affect brown sugar. This comes after the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association passed a resolution to increase the domestic price of sugar to $1.00 per pound at their Annual General Meeting, which was held on Sunday, November 22.

After the cane farmers had their general meeting, they met with the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Gaspar Vega, and it was agreed that instead of the $1.00 price they requested, the cane farmers will get a 25-cent price increase, bringing the price for one pound of sugar to 75 cents.

Alpuche said that the last time there was an increase in sugar prices was in 2001, and the increase of 25 cents will allow for the farmers to get a reasonable price on the cane. Alpuche added that the SI will not take effect until January 2016, and buyers should know that the current price is still 50 cents per pound.

Whether this price increase might affect other commodities, Alpuche couldn’t say for sure, but he pointed out that companies that make carbonated drinks are looking to see whether the increase will impact the price of their drinks.

Amandala readers will recall that the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) held a two-day meeting on November 26 and 27 in Belize. This meeting was timely, as Belize, along with the rest of the Caribbean, was trying to cope with the new lower prices of sugar in the European market.

After the SAC’s meeting, a press release was issued, noting that the sugar industries of the Caribbean had supplied the regional market with 31,500 tons of sugar in 2014-2015, and that there were plans to increase that supply to 43,000 tons in 2015-2016.

The press release continued by stating that SAC members had made a commitment to supply the total amount of raw sugar/brown sugar for the Caribbean market.

According to the press release, Santander Group, a Guatemalan-owned sugar factory which is scheduled to start milling cane in Belize in February 2016, was present at the meeting as an observer. The press release further states that the SAC welcomed their investment in the regional sugar industry. It added that Santander Group has the capacity to produce 100,000 tons of sugar.

Amandala was told that our local cane industry/market will not be benefiting from the activities of the Santander Group, whose produce will be shipped overseas.

Also at the meeting, the West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station (WICSCBS), a research facility owned by SAC, reported that they had successfully completed an EU-funded ACP research project.

The release stated, “This project, implemented in Belize, Jamaica and Guyana will contribute to increased efficiency in agronomy trials, cane sampling and maturity testing.”


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