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Jan 26, 2015

2015 Sugar Cane Crop Opens

This morning, the 2015 sugar cane crop season opened with delivery of cane from the Orange Walk Branch. Its seven weeks late, but the fact that is happening at all is cause for some jubilation by factory representatives and politicians who claim to have saved the day. The challenge now will be for stakeholders to maintain optimum performance on all levels. There is plenty of cane to be harvested and delivered – more than last crop – but the season has been dramatically shortened. So while today’s opening is cause for celebration there is no time for celebration. Mike Rudon was at B.S.I. this morning and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

At ten this morning, while politicians politicked under a tent festooned with balloons, farmers from the Orange Walk Branch delivered cane for the 2015 crop, long delayed. It’s been a rocky road leading up to this moment, and all stakeholders are breathing a collective sigh of relief.

 

Mac Maclachlan

Mac Maclachlan, Vice President, International Relations, ASR

“We’re very, very happy that this day has come. We’re happy to be moving on with the crop. It’s time to do that, and we’re in a position now where we can get on and do what we have to do and that’s to make sure we’re here.  I hope that this goes down as a success story for the industry in the future, where through difficult times that we had we can now perhaps look more to unity and moving forward together and tackling the various different challenges that we have to tackle in what is quite a difficult environment for sugar industries all over the world.”

 

At exactly ten thirty, the first loads of sugar cane were offloaded onto machines long dormant. The milling will start off at a moderate pace before the factory jumps into high gear for the rough season ahead.

 

John Gillett, Factory Manager, B.S.I.

“After the cane is weighed it’s discharged into the cross carriers. The cross carriers feed it into the feeder carrier. After the feeder carrier we pass the cane through a set of cane knives and then through a set of shredders which prepares the cane for milling. In other words what it does is shred the cane…we refer to it as a preparation index…and get the cane conditioned so that milling can start. For today’s delivery we are requesting six thousand tons…tomorrow will be six thousand six and for Wednesday and Thursday will be seven thousand. Now after we have settled down and evaluate the performance of the factory, we intend to increase that marginally, probably going up toward the seven thousand six, seven thousand eight hundred tons per day.”

 

Even at that pace, there is little hope that all cane in the fields will be delivered and milled before the weather closes the season.

 

John Gillett

John Gillett

“We do have much more cane this year than last year, and we are starting seven weeks late. At this time we should have had maybe three hundred thousand tons milled already. So we don’t know what will be the weather conditions towards the latter part of the crop, but it’s safe to say that we will have some stand-over cane.”

 

Earlier I used the word jubilation, but perhaps relief would be more accurate. ASR/B.S.I. and the government are relieved that there will be a crop season, without protest or bloodshed. Farmers are relieved that their cane won’t spoil in the fields and their immediate financial future is secured.

 

Alfredo Ortega

Alfredo Ortega

“We will continue the process and we are law abiding citizens. We are not here to create any mischief or whatever. We want our farmers to deliver their cane because it is very important for the farmers to deliver the cane that they have because many of us owe the banks and other institutions, so it is very important that we deliver. We stand firm on what our thoughts are in regards to the agreement. We hope that one day that can be changed and things can be more beneficial to the farmers. But in the meantime we’ll be working together with them so that all of us have the equal opportunity to deliver our material to the mill.”

 

Mac Maclachlan

“What we’d like to do is to get the debate moved forward from division and misinformation to a point where we coincide around progressive ideas and thinking about the future and I believe that one of the major elements of the agreement is not what’s in it, but it’s the fact that attached to it is a commitment from all sides of the industry to work on a Strategic Development Plan for the future. I believe that once we all sit around the table and start talking about those different issues, the atmosphere will be a good one, a constructive one, and that we’ll be able to move forward together.”

 

We note for the record that the B.S.C.F.A. managed to keep hold of four thousand, one hundred and fifty cane-farmers of approximately five thousand five hundred in Orange Walk and Corozal. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “2015 Sugar Cane Crop Opens”

  1. farmer says:

    For your information, yesterday was the first day of the harvest season and BSI/ASR/GAP/Dean Barrow are having problems with the factory, one of the fan boiler got damage and reports that it will be fix until by Friday of this week.

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