The 2010 sugar cane crop came to a close at 6pm on Saturday August 28, having been opened for 256 days. This makes it the longest crop in the history of Belize Sugar Industries, second only to the crop of 2007, when the mill remained in operation for 234 days. Total cane crushed was 1,122,765 tons (2009 – 917,727 tons) from which 88,176 tons sugar (2009- 92,408 tons) was processed.
The tons of cane it took to make one ton of sugar this year was 12.73 compared to 9.91 in 2009. This also makes it one of the poorest quality of sugar cane delivered to the Sugar Mill in recent history. An interesting observation from the final figures at BSI shows that for the first time ever, there was more mud processed (100,000 tons) from the cane than sugar.
The Factory remained open for as long as the Cane Farmers wanted, so as to accept most of the cane available. This was a commitment given earlier in the year, when BSI stated that it would remain open to make up for time lost at the commencement of crop when there were technical difficulties in the commissioning of Belcogen, a subsidiary power plant of Belize Sugar.
These past few weeks the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has been busy issuing free fertilizer to cane farmers in an effort to improve the quality of cane for the 2011 crop. The fertilizer was acquired through funds generated from the sale of sugar in the EU under the Fairtrade label. It is very important that cane quality be improved since this makes it the fourth year in this past decade that the total sugar produced has been below the 100,000 mark, a significant target for both BSI and the Cane Farmers. This total has become even more critical, since in October of last year the final phase of the 36% price cut in the EU Sugar Reform became effective and Belize received much less revenue from the sale of its sugar this crop. Hopefully the 2011 crop will see better production figures.