Cane damage less then feared, says sugar company

The U.S. Embassy today confirmed that Belize's annual quota for sugar
exports to the United States have been renewed at roughly the same level as
last year. The 2008 allotment is set at eleven thousand five hundred and
eighty-three metric tons and means that those sales will receive a price
significantly higher than that prevailing on the world market.

And while that quota is beneficial, Belize's largest market remains the
European Union. Interestingly, although its programme to gradually
eliminate sugar subsidies means lower prices each year, the meteoric rise
in the value of the Euro against the U.S. dollar has virtually erased the
drop in prices because Belize gets paid in Euros.

According to Belize Sugar Industries C.E.O. Joey Montalvo, the damage to
this year's cane crop caused by Hurricane Dean has been less than
originally feared and while older cane did suffer, the younger plants have
recovered well. B.S.I.'s forecast is now for a crop of between one point
one and one point one-five million long tons of cane to be milled into
around a hundred thousand tons of sugar. Last year, due to poor cane
quality and other factors, one point two-four-five million tons of cane
produced only ninety-seven thousand tons of sugar.