Green Tropics Limited, a new sugar company whose parent company in Spain has been involved in the sugar industry in Guatemala for over 20 years, is moving to develop a thriving sugar cane industry that will bring more than 700 jobs to the Cayo district within three years.
The company showed off its new equipment and project plan at its booth at National Agricultural and Trade Show in Belmopan over the weekend, April 27th-29th.
The company has acquired 7,069.49 acres of land in the Castille and Meditation area just north of More Tomorrow Village in the Cayo district. Almost 90% of the land has already had the forest vegetation destroyed by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The company intends to clear the land and plant five tons of cane seed per acre.
The company is introducing a heavy-duty Skid Steer mulcher mounted on a 600 Hp Prime Tech tractor with caterpillar tracks, that will chop and grind all loose branches, tree root stumps and other debris in its path, churning it into the ground to form mulch for future planting. The mulcher can churn a nine-foot wide strip into ground ready for planting at a speed of 7 km/hour.
The company plans to employ 300 full-time workers all year round, and anticipates that it will need as many as 700 workers during harvest time. The plan is for heavily mechanized farming and mechanized harvesting of green cane, not burnt cane, to minimize the use of chemicals needed for the clarification process in the factory.
Initially the factory will build molasses storage tanks with a capacity of 2 million gallons and a bulk sugar warehouse to store 35,000 tons of sugar. The company plans to produce 128,000 tons of sugar per year, 4.16 million gallons of molasses, and produce 11 Megawatts of electricity for sale to the national grid.
The company’s plan of operations is to be totally in harmony with the environment, by not burning the sugar cane, the company will minimize its emissions of greenhouse gases. It also anticipates it will need as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute for irrigation and factory operations, and while the river will not be able to supply all this water, the company has already identified subterranean aquifers it will tap into for well-water to meet its needs. The plan includes the construction of treatment ponds to treat all wash waters from the factory, with the treated water to be used in irrigation in the fields and for the sludge to be returned to the field as fertilizer.
The company anticipates that it will be able to receive sugar cane from farmers within a 20-mile radius, so farmers as far west as the Valley of Peace area could produce sugar cane and deliver to the factory, as the company intends for up to 25,000 acres to be under cultivation with sugar cane.
Although the factory will be situated on the southside of the Belize River, the company plans for a bridge and road to be built to connect to the north side of the river so that farmers from as far east as Rancho Dolores and Bermudian Landing in the Belize district could also grow and deliver sugar cane to the factory.