So, as you can see, those who earn a living from sugar are doing all they can to ensure that Belize's product can compete with the Beet Sugar from European farmers.
Their low cost production is driving the world price for sugar down, and right now, it's as much as 10 US dollars lower per pound than last year.
So, the projected financial impact of that trend probably helped convince the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association to sign a revised commercial agreement with ASR/BSI.
As we told you, there had been a brewing dispute between the BSFCA and the millers, over the 2015 cane purchase agreement. BSI wanted to remove the three-year opt-out clause and allow the contract to run for its full term until 2022. But, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association did not want to get locked in like that.
So, with the weeks going by, it appeared that the 2 sides were deadlocked. That's until early October where the dispute was quietly resolved, with both parties reaching an agreement. There was no press release, no press conference, no nothing.
So, when we asked the ASR's Group's top local executive about that resolution, yesterday, it was like that old reggae song, "nobody move, nobody get hurt":
Mac McLachlan - VP, International Relations, ASR Group
"We are one industry here. We have cane farmers. We have a mill. We have some institutions. We are one industry. We will remain one industry. We're moving forward together. We've signed an agreement with all 3 associations that take us through for another 4 years. That makes common sense. It's a good agreement for all of us. There's some compromises in there, basically, we're - I believe - on the right path to put behind us some of the division and some of the difficulties we've had and to actually look at the things we can do. That's the whole point. It's about what it is in our hands, and what isn't in our hands to do."
"Sir, are you able to at least addressed the changes in the prices that have been forecasted at this time. We know that it's less than what the farmers were given last year."
"I can't say at the moment, we simply don't know exactly what pricing is going to be. But, I can say that the price of raw sugar at the end of last year, on the global market was $24 US a pound, and it's now around $14.50 US. So, that's an indication."
"We're anticipating lower prices than some of the prices we've had in the past. We can't say what they are yet. We don't - we can't predict what that's going to be, nor can we predict how long a downturn we'll take. But, what a good idea to actually do stuff that is in our hands, where we actually can make a difference? What a good idea to actually look at quality of cane?"
All the caps on the quotas of sugar which European farmers were allowed to deliver have been removed. International news reports say that these restrictions helped to keep the prices of sugar artificially high.