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Aug 5, 2015

Banner Year for Sugar Production

The sugar crop got off to a rocky start but it is surely ending on a sweet note. This season, sugar production peaked to over one hundred and forty tones. The other good news is that there is also a record second payment which will have farmers fetch over twenty-one cents per ton of sugar as final payment. There are many good reasons for the bumper year, but weather conditions helped along the way. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A banner year for sugar production, despite getting off to a rocky start earlier in the season due to a deadlock in negotiations between cane farmers and millers over the proceeds of bagasse.  That’s the state of the industry in very few words.  While the present situation remains stable, there is much to look forward to at the end of the 2014/2015 crop.  After all, it has been a record spell for everyone involved.

 

Belizario Carballo

Belizario Carballo, Chief Financial Officer, ASR/B.S.I.

“Indeed it was a very good crop, a record in many respects; one, in terms of sugar produced.  A hundred and forty-two thousand tons of sugar which was above the previous record of a hundred and twenty-five [thousand tons].  So that was, I think, the highlight of the crop and although we could not perhaps mill all the cane that would have probably been available because of the late start, we still were able to grind more or less the same amount of cane that we did last year.”

 

The bumper crop, according to Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, is primarily attributable to good weather.  Notwithstanding suitable climactic conditions, farmers were unable to harvest all of what was planted.

 

Ezequiel Cansino

Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman, B.S.C.F.A.

“At least eighty percent will be delivered of our production based on the estimation that we were given in November.  Well, we had good weather which allowed us to have good quality cane.  Also, the efforts of the cane farmers who did their best on the quality system which they managed the harvesting much better and we got or we ended up with good quality cane this year.”

 

The value of the overall yield will see farmers benefiting from better prices on the foreign market.

 

Belizario Carballo

“We also had a year of good prices, you could say, in terms of the contracts we had signed.  Unfortunately those contracts expire this year in terms of the price itself, the prices that were fixed for this crop.  Beyond this crop we will be more exposed to the EU market price which have fallen considerably from the prices that we had previously contracted at.  So this crop, in a sense, is the last crop at those contracted prices that were above current market prices in Europe and we also had an opportunity this year to sell to the U.S.A. market.  We also had the opportunity to sell direct consumption sugars into Europe as bagged sugar.”

 

Payments to farmers will be defrayed in three tranches, the second installment to be disbursed next Wednesday.

 

Ezequiel Cansino

“On the second payment which will be given on the twelfth, Wednesday, we are seeing that the test groups will be getting a good second payment but it is not necessarily what we were expecting.  We were expecting at least two more dollars.  But anyway, it is very good and I believe that the first test group which is the highest in quality will be getting about twenty-three dollars, if I’m not mistaken.  The lowest one will be receiving, I think, eighteen dollars and it’s very good for the cane farmers even though it would be much, much better if we would have delivered all our cane.”

 

Belizario Carballo

“This year, the cane price estimate for second payment is seventy dollars and forty-five cents which is an improvement over last year’s final price of sixty-seven dollars and fifty-two cents. If we would have started earlier we’d have had an opportunity to have a more regular season and it’s hard to say what would have been the effects of having done that in terms of the quality of cane in the field, what we would have received at the mill.  Certainly, in terms of quantity, we would have been able to mill more cane because this crop we went for twenty-four weeks which was similar to last year of twenty-four weeks.”

 

Cansino agrees that had they begun harvesting earlier farmers would be realizing greater profits from their production.

 

Ezequiel Cansino

“If we would have started the crop in December we would have delivered more cane and maybe yes, we would have cane left in the field but it would be much less than what we have right now.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I understand that [Sugar Industry Research & Development Institute] has commenced a survey to determine more or less how many acres of cane remain.”

 

Ezequiel Cansino

“Yes, today they started to survey and verify the cane fields that were reported that were left and maybe by two months let’s say we’d have an exact number of how much production was left in the cane fields.”

 

That estimate would give farmers an idea of how much additional revenue could have been generated from their cane fields. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “Banner Year for Sugar Production”

  1. Steve BZ says:

    If there’s any extra that the world market won’t absorb, we can always use a lee bit mo’ rum…U BETCHA!

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