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Nov 11, 2015

Sugar Assessment Incomplete Says B.S.I. Official

Earlier we told you about the low sugar prices that farmers will be paid for the new sugar crop. There is another issue that is bubbling. It involves the results of a survey held to determine an approximate tonnage of sugar cane left in fields across the Orange Walk and Corozal districts at the end of the last crop.  Depending on whom you ask that balance varies.  According to farmers, an estimated one point seven million tons of sugar cane was ready for harvest during the 2014/2015 crop.  The milling capacity at Tower Hill, however, is only one point two million tons during the normal twenty-six week cycle, leaving a difference of half a million tons of sugar cane in the fields.  ASR/B.S.I., on the other hand, contends that that figure is somewhat inaccurate.  Chief Financial Officer Belizario Carballo told News Five today that the assessment, in his opinion, is incomplete.

 

Belizario Carballo

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

“Our milling capacity is defined in terms of how much we can grind per hour and how much we can grind in a hundred and eighty days crop which essentially is twenty-six weeks of crop.  That window is considered, based on our climate conditions in Belize, to be the window in which we can properly harvest cane and effectively harvest cane.  Now that milling capacity is defined therefore as one point two-five million tons of cane in that twenty-six weeks of crop.  It does not mean that we can only mill one point two-five million tons of cane.  It simply means that unless we start on time and by time we mean as early as possible.  Currently we are planning on starting the crop around the thirtieth of November and so if we start at that point, twenty-six weeks would expire by the end of May and therefore that would give us an opportunity depending on the weather and depending on what will be the assessment of cane remaining at that point whether we can extend the crop.  Clearly that opportunity of extending the crop is not there if we delay the start of the crop as occurred in the last crop or as have occurred for the last two crops when we have started the crop at the end of January, then the twenty-six weeks expires in July and so there is not much opportunity to extend.  Normally the weather situation doesn’t allow.  The situation right now, at the end of the last crop there was indication that there was a significant cane left in the field.  We had extended the crop but it was still not sufficient to bring in all the cane.  An assessment, as you say, was done to determine what that volume was and that assessment is still, in my view, incomplete or perhaps extended for other purposes because we are also at the same time seeking to introduce a management information system for the sugar industry.”

 

The 2015/2016 crop commences at the end of November and is expected to culminate in May 2016.

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