Sugar Crop Season Closes Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 June 2017 00:00

The 2016 – 2017 Sugar cane crop season comes to an end this week. The Belize Sugar Industries has indicated that it will receive its last delivery of sugarcane for this crop season on Friday June 30. After 28 weeks of grinding BSI’s grinders are expected to go into their annual slumber by Sunday or early next week.

The weekly report issued on the June 21 by The Belize Sugar Industries indicate that at week 27 (last week) the amount of cane milled so far stands at 1,237,818 tons which are 50,886 less than last year’s crop which stood at 1,288,704 tons of sugar cane. The amount of sugar produced last year was 132,113 tons while this year it stands at 139,962 tons an increase of 7,849 tons. The factory’s grinding rate for this crop season has been 6,315 tons while last year it ended with 6,575 tons a decrease of 260 which according to the industry is as a result of bad weather. The percentage of juice purity this year is 87.30% up 1.55% from last season’s 85.75%. The ton of sugar cane to ton of sugar ratio stood at 9.75 for last year’s crop season while for the current one it stands at 8.84 indicating that the sugar cane quality was superior during this 2016-17 crop season in contrast to last year’s.

From all indications it has been a good season notwithstanding the ending of Belize’s status at the preferential market, the sugar Industry remains stable. No one can predict the future of the sugar industry as the beet sugar producers are allowed to produce as much sugar as they can for the European Market causing the sugar prices to be driven down as a result.

Belizean farmers are therefore urged that in order to make the industry viable and competitive they will need to comply with some requirement stipulated in a Strategic Development Plan. In a BSI newsletter volume 6, Mac McLachlan - ASR Group’s Vice President of International Relations entitled Challenges facing the Industry in 2016 he outlines the following: ”The SDP steering committee will shortly be presented with a log frame setting out the phases needed to achieve this. These are: improved cane productivity – more tons per acre, increasing farmers’ incomes even as cane prices fall, matching mill capacity; reduced costs of harvesting and delivery through more efficient use of cane trucks and field equipment; how the cane delivery process can encourage increased efficiencies to reduce costs to farmers; encouraging a shift to mechanized harvesting where this makes sense; agro-finance suited to cane farmers’ needs; improvements to the factory-to-ship logistics process; how to get the right investment climate to encourage mill expansion and thereby reduce production costs making Belizean sugar more competitive to face the new market challenges.”

The newsletter concludes bysaying that with the input of all stakeholders the viability of this very important industry which provides sustenance to more than 500 families can be maintained.

“Working together, industry stakeholders can make this a long term, sustainable and profitable business. But this will require everyone to play their part: farmers to improve productivity, the government to support farmers and the mill to make the investments both need to make, industry institutions to strive for greater efficiency, and the financial and development sectors to continue to support industry stakeholders in this process.”