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Mar 8, 2011

Belize Sugar Industry resumes work at the mill

As we reported last week, the Tower Hill factory has resumed grinding operations after a delay caused by faulty turbines. News Five’s Marion Ali headed north and got the reaction from the cane farmers on how the crop will fare off the season.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Barely any steam spews from the huge chimney at the Belize Sugar Industries Limited at Tower Hill as the only turbine currently in use resumes the milling of burnt sugar cane delivered to the factory.  For three weeks, the facility was closed after two turbines that were installed just over a year ago became dysfunctional soon after the start of the 2011 crop season.  After maintenance of one of the two pieces of equipment, work is about to enter full swing.  And those whose pockets were most affected—the cane farmers and their workers—are pleased to see things getting back to normal.  For them, the past three weeks without an income was turbulent.

Jose Mai, Cane Farmer

“It was very difficult—three weeks cash flow, short of cash, reduced purchasing power and everybody just wishing that the factory would be working well.”

Romel Carballo

Romel Carballo, Cane Trucker

“We had to work with whatever we had to do, some ketch and kill like how we say it, whatever comes we have to do something, but we are glad that the factory is starting to grind again.”

Voice of: Julio Avila, Cane Farmer

“We see it very hard because we have kids and we have kids in college in school and thank God it tek only three weeks because if ih mi tek more ih mi wah be big problem fi the north of the country.”

But things were not as gloomy for Augusto Palencia, who was lucky to land a part-time job.

Augusto Palencia, Cane Trucker

Augusto Palencia

“My boss still continue to give we a lee work because if he never give we nothing I mi wah have to move somewhere else because things hard right now and yoh just can’t stay without working.”

Marion Ali

“You actually were luckier than the other guys.”

Augusto Palencia

“Well, I could say so, yes. Although I never mi earning the same amount as I usually do right now but still that I still mi mek something.”

As the nation’s only sugar processing plant kicks back into gear, BSI issued a press release explaining the scope of the behind-the-scenes work that took place during the three-week delay.  It serviced and tested the first of its two turbines and brought that contraption back into commission on Sunday morning.  The second turbine remains in Guatemala where its seals and bearings are being replaced—a process that will take another two to three weeks to complete.  But that should not slow down the daily production of sugar, as the current turbine is milling an acceptable six thousand four hundred tons per day.

Jose Mai

Jose Mai

“I understand that the factory is grinding; the quota for today is three thousand two hundred tons which is for Orange Walk and three thousand two hundred for Corozal, which is six thousand four, which is good noh, and we hope that they keep it up like that.”

But while is not the problem, what will slow down the process for the time being is recent inclement weather.

Jose Mai

“It has been relatively slow because we had some rainfall over the weekend and hence farmers could not burn their cane fields as they had expected to.  So it is slow right now.”

Slow, but working, as cane farmers anticipate a decent crop year for 2011, despite the unforeseen inconvenience recently experienced.  Marion Ali for News Five.

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1 Response for “Belize Sugar Industry resumes work at the mill”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    IT’S ABOUT TIME…………….. enough of the incompetence AND MISMANAGEMENT.

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