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Jan 27, 2014

2013-2014 Sugar Cane Crop Season off to a good start

The 2013-2014 Sugar Cane Crop Season got off to a late start this past Friday after months of delay. The cane farmers and the Belize Sugar Industries were at odds since September of last year after the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association walked away from the negotiation table when B.S.I. refused to entertain any discussions with farmers about compensation for bagasse. Because of the delay, the industry lost more than ten million dollars and in mid January, both parties finally signed an interim agreement to jumpstart the season. The quota for cane delivery to the mills at Tower Hill is one point two million tons of sugar cane for the season. While in Orange Walk today, News Five got an update from the B.S.C.F.A.’s Alfredo Ortega on cane deliveries. He says based on the past three days, Ortega says the prognosis is good.


Alfredo Ortega, Vice-Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“From since Friday when we started we were under four hundred tons to meet the target. But hereafter Saturday and Sunday we have meet the target and which we have delivered up to this morning six o’clock, eighteen thousand three hundred tons of sugar cane to the mill.”


Duane Moody

Alfredo Ortega

“What does that say to farmers wanting to get the crop up, wanting to make sure that their harvest is the best and making the sugar industry this year, 2014, be successful?”


Alfredo Ortega

“Well that demonstrates that farmers are really committed in bringing quality cane to the mill. Also demonstrates that farmers are really pushing forward to deliver all that they can in regards to their product. This put some more sacrifice in the farmers and what they are doing is that they are placing some stones in some areas where the work was not done. And so they are coming together and putting some stone so that they can come out with their produce and let it reach to the mill.  We started experiencing purities of eighty-five purity from since Friday and it continues. And we have a present TCTS of eleven point sixty-six which is very good. Because as you know in interviews you have done to us before in early December we had purities of below eighty percent which would have brought us to a TCTS of above eighteen tons per ton of sugar. So what is transpiring right now with the weather and how the farmers are taking care of the cane in the way that they are harvesting is really demonstrating that they are doing good and the quality of cane is demonstrating that yes there is a quality and it will produce quality sugar.  At this point in time, I can say that even though we started on a weekend, but farmers are demonstrating…Yesterday that was Sunday I was really surprised to see the amount of cane that came in. The amount to be delivered is seven thousand and it was delivered between Corozal and Orange Walk. It demonstrates that farmers are really committed and that they want to see that they can take advantage of each and every hour that comes through. And that if the weather permits that they are moving through into this venture.”


Duane Moody

“With this new change, what are your predictions?”


Alfredo Ortega

“Well if things continue the way they are, I believe that the losses will be very minimal. Once we can maintain a very coordinated harvesting, once we can coordinate ion how we last very few hours without having trucks to the mill. I think that going through with those things that that will help us not to lose a lot of cane whenever the crop comes to an end.”

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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