Monday, December 12, 2011


Jose Alpuche in an article on the sugar industry in the Belize Ag Report charges political interference is making a mess of the industry.

Two investors in the sugar industry have asked first that there be legislative reforms. To both of these investor requests, the government of the UDP have turned a deaf ear. Under the current system, the sugar industry is deemed by Jose Alpuche to be non-sustainable. Political agents sit on the regulatory bodies under current sugar legislation, making decisions and intervening on a daily basis, making decisions for what is a PRIVATE SECTOR industry. Without deregulation by the current political regime, the way forward for the sugar industry is expected to let the sugar industry collapse. The government, Jose charges, should restrict itself to phyto-sanitary, plant health and some agronomic extension work. This of course is not the only private sector industry to suffer from micro-management for political party member advancement in Belize. Usually such political controls are aimed at voter aimed controls for election purposes. Even the Town Board of Placentia and others, have not been able to get their by-laws legalized by the political reading of them, in the Parliament, which is so required by law to make them legal. There is a lot of political manipulation and micro-management with which private sector investment suffer in Belize. The bus transportation industry is another.
The sugar industry has declined in recent years, from a top production of 112,000 tons, to less than 99,000 tons. Cane farmer associations themselves have to turn from a militant, confrontational approach, between them and the sugar factory owners, with patronage and subsidy loans expected, in return for votes at election time; to a more business like, performance based approach for the sugar industry. They cannot do this while they are coddled and maneuvered for political purposes by the government, through their agents. The status quo, political regulated system is not an option any longer in the sugar industry, facing world competition.

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