Sugar Price continue to fall on the global market and there is not telling whether the trend will continue in the months ahead. Last year prices stood around 21 cents US per pound. In 2016, prices were in the range of 22 to 24 cents US per pound. Presently, the price has dipped to 11 cents per pound on the global market. Olivia Avilez, Cane Farmer Relations at BSI spoke on the impacts this has on Belize's sugar industry and what measures are being taken.

Olivia Avilez, Cane Farmers Relations Officer: “It affects the entire industry really because the factory gets 35% of those revenues after net shift values and the farmer gets 65% out of those revenues. It affects the country in terms of foreign exchange and GDP so it affects the entire chain when we have those faults. What we have to do is be able to foresee and forecast and prepare for them, we have been preparing for this moments since it was announced back in 2013 October 2013, 3 years, 4 years and so we have been trying to get strategies put together. One of our main strategy at the factory is to change from raw sugars to production of direct consumption sugars that fetch higher prices in the EU Market and in other possible markets and it opens other ones like CARICOM and so on so that is the main strategy for us moving away from production of raw to DC it will require and it is requiring investment from ASR a $22 million dollar investment this year that we hope we’re able to launch part of it this year so that we can see some of those benefits. DC Sugars sell for 42% more than raw sugar so that is the main thing look for these value added sugars.”


Bad News For The North, Global Sugar Prices Crashing

It's been about 7 months now that Belize's sugar industry has been operating without preferential access to the European market, which means competing on the same level playing field as the rest of the world.

So now European beet sugar farmers compete head to head with Belize and the other African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

And the news tonight is that current world prices are already down by half of what they were just last year. We got a chance to speak with one of BSI/ASR's representatives about it at another event, and here's what she had to say:

Olivia Avilez - Cane Farmer Relations, BSI
"Well last year we were enjoying prices of 21 cents a pound in terms of global sugar prices. We get an average of the full crops' prices as they fluctuate. Last year we were looking at 21 cents a pound. This year when we started this crop we were looking at around 14 cents a pound and it has been coming down. If you google into the sugar organization website. You will see that sugar prices are down to 11 cents. That has a major impact on production, capacities, production costs and returns."

"Do you think that we should prepare ourselves for lower prices in years to come?"

Olivia Avilez - Cane Farmer Relations, BSI
"Well I'm not an expert in the area but what we've seen is that there is a surplus of sugar in the world and that is what is driving down the prices even below what the experts and forecasters were looking at. We're monitoring that and at the moment, looking at different strategies, not only the factory but in the field, this one for example, quality is a main parameter in pricing. Definitely trying to assist farmers with some of the technologies that we have learnt."

But, as we've been telling you those whose livelihoods depend on the sustainability of the sugar industry have been bracing for these hard times from since 2013. Later on in the news, we'll show you how the cane farmers are trying to be more efficient by maximizing the purity of the cane they are delivering to the mill.

Channel 7