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Jun 3, 2020

Milling Halts at the B.S.I. Factory

The A.S.R./B.S.I. factory did its final milling around four before it closed temporarily to do some maintenance work. As we reported on Tuesday, the closure is directly related to the impact of the heavy rains and the floods. The sugar cane now has a high mud content, which affects the processing equipment and it has also proven to be a challenge for some farmers to get out their harvest. According to Mac McLachlan of A.S.R./B.S.I., they consulted with their stakeholders and had to take the decision. He says that they will now use this time to work on the factory so that they are ready to go when the heavy rains subside.

 

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

“We have had unprecedented amounts of rain over the last weekend as everyone is aware and clearly that has major impact on the mills ability to function both from the perspective of farmers being able to bring cane to the mill, getting it out of the field to bring it to the mill and the mill’s perspective on managing to mill that cane particularly if it is coming in with a lot of mud and soil and other aspects that you might associate with high levels of rainfall. Our aim would be to get back up and running as soon as it is practical to do so. I think another weather front coming in this week, it appears, into Belize. So, we are watching and waiting to see what happens with that. But in the meantime the factory is not milling cane and as soon we can we will resume the crop.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Does this create an issue for the sugar industry?”

 

On the Phone: Mac McLachlan

“Well, sure. We are used to running a twenty-four seven operation other than times when we have stoppages for maintenance. What we have done in this case is that we have brought forward maintenance stop which was discussed with the cane farmer associations. We are in the process now of doing some very much needed repairs on the mill because of not only the heavy rain fall that is having an impact but the drought conditions we suffered last year; being that the mud and soil that comes in with the cane has caused us significant problems in milling.   We have had a whole series of meetings over the weekend with farmers associations to discuss this advance of maintenance stop which was at the request of farmers in the first place and we were given a rough estimate of the canes that had been burnt just before the rains came in which was just over five thousand tonnes of cane in the field that needed to come in. SO, we continued to grind until a good deal later than we had originally agreed and we brought in nearly seven thousand tonnes of cane over that period. But at that stage it was important for the sake of the mill as well because the actual quality of that cane coming in mostly due to the weather was very poor indeed and was having an impact on the mill.   I am aware that there have been a number of farmers who had brought cane after that sort of cut off period and we empathize with that situation. It is not an easy situation but we were working with estimates that we had been given.”


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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