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Jul 8, 2011

Sugar so sweet; temporary scarcity due to cross-border trade

The Belize Sugar Industry has processed more sugar than it expected the local market to consume. But there are some consumers who insist that there is a sugar shortage and that stores are rationing the amount they sell. News Five spoke this afternoon to the marketing manager of BSI, Damian Gough, who says that BSI is producing more sugar than needed for local consumption but because sugar is more expensive in neighboring countries, the supply may be slipping over the borders for making coffee and pastries sweeter in Mexico and Guatemala.

Damian Gough, Marketing Manager, BSI

Damian Gough

“For the record there isn’t a shortage of sugar. We have been able to produce the amount of sugar that our records indicate the market would normally consume. Our record shows that the market normally consumes twelve thousand tons of sugar per year. We have in fact produced thirteen thousand five hundred. When the crop was finished on the twenty-fourth of June, we actually did some reprocessing of sugar that we would have normally exported to produce additional sugar to make sure that we have sugar to last us throughout the course of the year. As of this weekend, tomorrow, we will have just over six thousand tons, about six thousand five hundred tons of sugar in our warehouses and the normal consumption of our Belizean market is about a thousand ton per month. So we should have enough sugar to take us through to the end of the year.”

Jose Sanchez

“However there is a scarcity. Why is that?”

Damian Gough

“Yes there has been a scarcity of sugar in the market for the last couple of months. The primary reason for that is because there has been a high instance of cross border trade—what people normally refer to as contraband. The reality of it is that sugar in neighboring republics—in Guatemala and Mexico—is going sometimes for two to three times the amount that we sell sugar here. So there is a high incentive for sugar to make its way across the border. The solution to that ideally is to raise the price of sugar but we’re living in a situation where I know that that won’t be welcomed by people. So the solution for us has been to produce a little bit more sugar to make sure that we have to take us through the rest of the year, but at the same time, we’ve been working along with a committee set up under the Sugar Industry Control Board to look at the managing of the distribution system and working with the distributors that current service the markets that supply the sugar.”

Earlier this week, in light of the complaints of a sugar shortage, the Bureau of Standards warned businesses that it is an offense to limit, withhold and refuse to sell sugar.

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1 Response for “Sugar so sweet; temporary scarcity due to cross-border trade”

  1. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    With all that said I hope that they have those turbines in working order for the next sugar season in order to hopefully avoid another breakdown in the middle of the season. Remember My Legacy B4 My People.

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