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Jul 25, 2018

Sugar Prices at an All Time Low Shake Up the Lifeblood of the North

The effects of the low second payment to farmers, is being felt across the north. On Tuesday, the Belize Cane Farmers Association said the payments throw the industry in crisis. Today, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association, says that the lower than expected payment of forty-five dollars and forty-seven cents per ton of sugar, deals a terrible blow to farmers who could be run out of the industry despite their efforts to improve the quality of cane . An already bad situation will further deteriorate to a point where farmers can no longer survive in the industry. Today, A.S.R./B.S.I.’s Cane Farmer Relations Olivia Avilez explained the price structure, saying that both the millers and farmers are in the same boat.

 

On the Phone: Olivia Avilez, Cane Farmers Relations, B.S.I.

“The second payment we issued is higher than the first estimate we issued at the onset of the crop—it is a little bit higher—and this is because we were able to produce DC sugars and the investments that we put in, we were able to benefit a little bit this year. We are actually getting sugar price of around thirteen and a half [cents] per pound of sugar and if you look at the world market prices at the moment it is around eleven cents a pound. So we are slightly higher at this moment and this is attributed mainly to being able to produce DC sugars and sell that at a higher price.  The second payment estimate is at forty-five dollars and forty-seven cents. For second payment, the farmers are receiving around an average of four dollars and eighty-eight cents per ton of sugar cane, but this is done based on the relative quality of that group. What that means is that if you delivered a higher quality of cane then you are able to get a higher price. Those are the differences in groups. So if you are able to bring in good quality then it is around six dollars, a ton of cane. We are basically in the same boat with farmers; we all think that we should have been receiving more. Honestly, at eleven cents a pound of sugar in the world market, nobody is making money; it is way under production cost for sugar. We are all in the same boat; we all think that we should be receiving higher, but the reality is that Belize is not immune to what is going on in the world. Thailand, India are producing a lot of sugar and it is affecting the world market prices; we have lost our preferential market and so we are post 2017…we’ve been preparing for this moment honestly. And one of strategies that B.S.I. is leading is really to try to change our raw sugar and make more direct consumption sugars so that we are able to fetch higher prices and so clearly this has been the benefit this year. We are able to have three cents more than we would have had. So at the end of the day that’s what is important; what are the strategies we are doing together and it is not really a time to be divisive or place a blame game.”

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