Producer Profiles

BSCFA - Belize Sugar Cane Farmer's Association

Sugar cane production and exports make up about 60 percent of Belize's agricultural sector. An estimated 6,000 farmers grow sugarcane while many others are involved in the processing and packaging phases. In northern Belize, where most cane is grown, about 85 percent of the population relies on the sugar industry. Many farmers are smallholders with very little land and face a series of challenges, including Hurricane Dean in 2007 which devastated many of the plantations.

The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) joined the Fair Trade movement in 2008 to benefit their farmers. In addition to rebuilding infrastructure after the hurricane, the cooperative used its Fair Trade premiums to develop a variety of social programs that would benefit the community.
 

Quotable

We are very happy for the ways Fair Trade is assisting us. We are using premium funds for social and environmental projects that enhance farmers' lives.

I think it is very important Fair Trade certification maintains high expectations and standards. We are honored to be a member of the Fair Trade system and do not take our responsibilities as members lightly. Keeping the standards strong is in the best interest of our farmers in Belize.

We want to ensure that if our farmers' children want to be cane farmers, they can. If they want to go to school, they can. We want to ensure that they do not go to bed hungry at night. This is what we think Fair Trade is doing to benefit the country of Belize.

Fair Trade provides us with great support and tools to remedy our concerns and needs.  

David Madrid, GM

Programs

Environmental Protection and Development

BSCFA planned to inaugurate a new system in 2011 focusing on environmental protection. As part of the system, the cooperative plans to plant trees and manage garbage collection and waste recycling.

Education Grants

In 2011, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association invested a portion of its premium money on tuition fees, scholarships and school materials.

Training and Capacity Building

BSCFA will focus a part of their premium money on specialized skills trainings for some of their members. Areas include computer skills, tailoring, carpentry, business management courses, health and childcare nutrition courses.