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Government of Belize
Press Release: Marketing Committee for Local Sugar
Belmopan, 25th July, 2011. The Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) has appointed a Marketing Committee (MC) to take measures to ensure the availability of plantation white and brown sugar in the local market.
This is in direct response to numerous complaints and particularly from consumers about the unavailability of sugar at retail outlets across the country. In collaboration with the Belize Bureau of Standards ( BBS) and other relevant authorities, the Marketing Committee is committed to ensuring the year round supply of sugar to our Belizean consumers including manufacturers and industrial users. While enough sugar has been produced for local consumption this year, the availability of sugar in our local stores is still a concern which the marketing committee is now addressing. Some of the measures that have been and will be instituted to ensure availability to the local market include:
1. The implementation of controls from the primary supply source with a priority towards supplying sugar to legitimate business operators and industrial users;
2. Analyzing sales records and patterns for current distributors, wholesalers and retailers with an aim to verify sales patterns within the local market and to identify possible options for re-distribution to ensure consumers are able to get sugar;
3. Instructing BSI to stop the sale of sugar to distributors, wholesalers and retailers who refuse to submit sales records or whose sales records cannot satisfactorily account for the sale or distribution of sugar;
4. Liaising with the Customs Department to identify and penalize those persons who are engaged in the illegal cross-border trade of sugar into neighboring Mexico and Guatemala;
5. Utilization of the Bureau’s Consumer Protection hotline to report incidence of abuse and/or illegal sugar practices.
Reliable sources indicate that the scarcity is as a result of cross border trade to our neighboring countries namely Mexico and Guatemala where sugar prices are lucrative.
The general public is advised that the producers, manufacturers and consumers do not benefit from this trade.
In this regard, the Belize Bureau of Standards is requesting the general public to assist in reporting the identity of those individuals or entities engaged in the transportation of sugar across our borders. Also those shops that are unable to buy sugar are urged to report their situation. Concerned parties can call the Bureau’s Consumer Protection hotline at: 0-800-283-5587 to make reports or complaints. The information will be kept strictly confidential. Let us all ensure that sugar is available to our Belizean consumers.
The Marketing Committee is comprised of representatives from the MAF, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and the Belize Sugar Industries Ltd (BSI).
For further details please contact:
Mr. Hugo Patt, Chairman,
Sugar Industry Control Board
#1 Fonseca Street, Orange Walk Town.
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