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Jan 6, 2016

Long-term Sugar Industry Strategic Plan being Developed by Stakeholders

The main stakeholders of the sugar industry in the north; that is representatives from ASR/B.S.I. and the three sugar cane farmers associations met today inside the conference room of the La Inmaculada Credit Unit in Orange Walk Town. The purpose of the meeting is to develop a sugar industry strategic development plan for the industry to be a long-term competitive supplier for the international markets. The initiative was part of the commercial agreements negotiated between the producers and B.S.I.  According to Mac McLachlan of ASR and Jose Novelo of the Sugar Cane Production Committee, this first consultation looks at the proposed strategies to move the industry forward.

 

Jose Novelo

Jose Novelo, Chair, Sugar Cane Production Committee

“How can we become more efficient in the field that is producing more sugar per unit of land? Some of the other strategies would be, how can we improve the current harvesting and delivery system that is in place. Others will have to do with for instance, factory performance; how to even improve that. One of the main strategies is also how do we improve the sugar industry management information system that we currently developing for us to make better decisions in the industry.”

 

Mac McLachlan

Mac McLachlan, Vice-President, International Relations, ASR

“Basically it is all about how do we produce sugar more efficiently, reduce the cost of producing that sugar to make it competitive in a increasingly difficult global market. And so we are here to discuss the various steps, the various stages that everybody needs to commit to in order to get to that point. It has been a very lively discussion, a very useful discussion and I think we are making a lot of progress. The issue we have in Belize for a long period of time, the main market in the European Union has been offering preferential prices; those prices have reduced dramatically in the last crop season. Farmers are receiving a lot less for their cane and the industry is receiving a lot less for its sugar. This is going to be an ongoing problem for us because—nothing out of our hands in a way, but because the markets in Europe have changed. However, it’s a good wakeup call for our industry to see how we can manage to reduce the overall cost of producing sugar so that we can continue to compete in the international markets.”

 

Today’s meeting will be followed by another round of consultations with various stakeholders. 

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