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 email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.”