BSI/ASR Says Fairtrade Payment to Farmers Has Nothing to Do with Them
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) has expressed concerns about not receiving their Fairtrade payment for the delivery of their cane. The BSCFA believes that this has to do with the fact that they do not have an established commercial agreement and only an interim agreement with the Belize Sugar Industries Limited/ American Refinery Group (BSI/ASR). However, BSI/ASR’s Finance Manager, Shawn Chavarria, explained that payment has nothing to do with the mill. Here’s how he explains it.
Shawn Chavarria, Finance Manager, BSI/ASR: “We can’t comment much on the matter of Fairtrade because it really has nothing to do with the mill. The Fairtrade premium is paid by the customer and that arrangement is done through a contract that exists directly between the association who is the producer of sugar cane and the customer or the buyer of the sugar which is Fairtrade certified. So in order to receive a Fairtrade premium there has to be a contract in place between the association and the customer who was paying the Fairtrade premium. Our understanding is that there was no contract in place and until there is a contract in place then the BSCFA can’t or cannot receive Fairtrade premium but Fairtrade premium is not a part of our commercial agreement. We pay for the sugar cane based on the existing terms and that is what we continue to pay today.”
Reporter: And it’s not conditional on having an agreement with the miller?
Shawn Chavarria, Finance Manager, BSI/ASR: “It’s not conditional on us having an agreement all its conditional on is that both parties are Fairtrade certified and ensuring that they are in compliance but what is the key is that there is a contract in place between the association and the buyer.”