Sugar Cane farmers in the North agree on closing date for the cane crop season. Correspondent Arturo Cantun has the story.

ARTURO CANTUN

“It has been confirmed that 2012/2013 sugar cane crop season is scheduled to close on Saturday, May 25 at 6pm. Representatives from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association met with BSI to agree on the date but as Fred Ortega from the BSCFA says most of the sugar cane produced by farmers have been delivered.”

FRED ORTEGA

"Most of all we have delivered, for this crop, over a million tons of cane and we have produced over 114,000 tons of sugar which reflect a very good crop for us. We have had a very good behaviour in regards to the mill that they have had very constant milling per day; there has been some hiccup in regards to the factory but nothing so big that could have created any sort of problem. Most of all, this is one of the best crop that we have had and not experience huge problem with farmers versus mill. I think we have worked very well this year.”

ARTURO CANTUN

Until last Thursday BSI has milled 1,043,647 tons of cane which produce 114, 160 tons of sugar. So far the ton of cane for ton of sugar stands roughly at 9.4, a little lower than last year's which was at 9.34 at the close of the crop season.

FRED ORTEGA

If it is so, ending the crop with what we have presently at 9.14 that means that undoubtedly the price will go up; we have to bear in mind that it will vary based on the test group; not everybody will be getting the 63 there will be branches that will be getting more than the 63 and there will be others that will be below but I do believe that if we end out with a better TCTS than where we are it will reflect a higher price for cane."

ARTURO CANTUN

“At this TCTS the average price for a ton of sugar is $63; the total amount of sugar produced is above the projected at the beginning of this season which was at a 110,000 tons. While the present crop season is coming to a close without major hiccups Ortega looks beyond and expresses his concern of individuals who want to enter the production of sugar cane.”

FRED ORTEGA

"We have seen a fast movement of the farmers now in trying to increase their productivity in their farms and also we are seeing farmers that are coming into the association and getting their materials, their fertilizer and herbicides and those ones that have prepared and have done their land preparation and others that were not in cane production before; so, that gave me the sense of thinking, ‘where we will be putting all these materials?’ because the increase of capacity with the mill will be gradually; so, we need to be gradual also in the increment of production because we wouldn't want our farmers, that by the end of the next crop, they will be staying with their cane. We want that all cane planted by farmers can be taken to the mill; so those are the things that we need to coordinate and that is what puts me in a thinking, ‘what will be happening with production?’ because the other persons that are coming from outside, they are not planting two acres, they are planting hundreds of acres; so those are the things that we need to take very close care and protect farmers, our actual farmers.”

LOVEFM