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Jun 3, 2020

Drought Woes for Sugar Industry; Relief “Soon Come!”

This heavy rain is but only one climate related issue for the sugar industry. As you’ll recall, last year the industry suffered a serious drought and in the last couple weeks the low rainfall also signaled in another drought for the country. The back to back drought has taken a toll on the sugar industry with predictions that sugar production is expected to be down by thirty percent. As Mc McLachlan of A.S.R./B.S.I. explains this, the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Agriculture shares that some relief is coming for the sugar cane farmers in the form of a million U.S. dollars that was promised a while back:


On the Phone: Mac McLachlan, VP of International Relations, A.S.R./B.S.I.

“What we are doing is to try and manage the very unusual and difficult circumstances for the sugar cane crop in the north. Last year was the worst drought in the region for thirty-five years. That has had an impact on the cane, much of the cane is not as tall as it would normally be.   We knew from the onset of this crop that it is likely going to be around about thirty percent reduction in cane yield as a result of the drought last year and obviously that has an effect on sugar production and the whole industry. It has been a fairly dry period up to now and that could have implications for the size of the crop next year. I think what we are seeing in Belize is that there is a very clear correlation of climate change and the impact of climate change on our crop. We are seeing a great variance in weather patterns – too much rain; not enough rain at the wrong times. And as an industry I think it is important that we are all looking for longer term solutions to this so that we are not hit by these shocks from one year to another.   But what we are keen to do is to manage this crop the best way we can and look forward, hopefully to a crop next year that will be more in tuned to what we are used to.”


On the Phone: Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“As you know after last year’s drought we had allocated resources to assist the livestock sector and the vegetable and the grain sectors, those two programmes were completed and we have one loan request that has been put to the C.D.B. for assistance to the sugar industry. That loan has been approved and ready for disbursement but it requires approval from the House of Representatives for us to be able to obtain the money and we are hoping for it to be done later this month so then those pay outs as it relates to sugar will be made. As you may know, we are in dialogue with the World Bank right now for a 25 US million dollar loan to assist with climate smart agriculture practices which will assist farmers across the board specifically in addressing the changes from climate variability and climate change.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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