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Oct 2, 2019

Drought Deals “Major Blow” to the Sugar Industry

Mac McLachlan

Two weeks ago the government declared a state of emergency in several areas of the country as a result of the prolonged drought that has impacted the agricultural sector. Government committed to assisting farmers and we will have an update on that initiative ahead but first, we take a look at how the drought is expected to negatively impact the sugar industry in the north. B.S.I. Director, Mac McLachlan, who attended a meeting with CARICOM sugar stakeholders today, told the media today that the drought is inevitably dealing the industry a major blow. Here is what he said.

 

Mac McLachlan, Director, B.S.I.

“I think it is inevitable with the level of drought we have suffered in these crucial recent months that we will not have the same estimate of crop that we had last year. I don’t have a direct estimate for you at the moment. Remember last year we had a record crop, record sugar production. This year, I know that the cane is stressed, very stressed. It’s had a lot of difficulties because of a lack of water and I think, you know, we as an industry, farmers, ourselves, we have to come together. We have to look at the best mitigation we can make for that to ensure this doesn’t have effects beyond this year into the next few years. We are looking at climate smart solutions to some of the problems we have. We’ve got major proposals with the five C’s at the moment, the green climate fund to try and bring assistance. Now this is needed anyway. It’s needed because of the impact of climate change on a rain fed crop that we have in Belize. So we need to look at a lot of different solutions. They are not going to come overnight. We need to look at water management. We need to different types of varieties that are going to perform better in more volatile weather conditions. Yes, unfortunately this is a major blow to the industry and to our cane farmers as we have seen particularly in some areas in the cane from significant damage to the crop.”

 

The next sugar crop is expected to commence in December.


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