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Sugarcane crop closes #537303
07/16/19 05:01 AM
07/16/19 05:01 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,855
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The 2018/2019 sugarcane crop came to a close this morning. According to Belize Sugar Industry/American Sugar Refineries, BSI/ASR this year’s crop has seen an improvement in the amount of cane supplied to the factory. Love News spoke with BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer, Olivia Avilez said that the amount of cane supplied to the factory for this crop season exceeded expectations.

Olivia Avilez – BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer: “We ended with 1.317615 million tons of cane, really that is record-breaking supply amount. Our last record was 1.314 million tons of cane. It is very important that the quality that comes in the cane is good because that is then translated to the amount of sugar that we can produce or extract out of that cane. Currently, the tons cane to tons sugar is 8.34 so we are still finalizing the sugar numbers because we just ended this morning but we are over 155,000 tons of sugar and again that is another record. Our last record was 144,000 tons of sugar and that was in 2017 so we are about 11,000 tons above that. That is critical because that translates into a positive price as well. We also managed to make better types of sugars, direct consumption sugars and more. These are food grade that sells for a higher price than the regular raw sugar so definitely those are very positive results from this year’s crop.”

Avilez explained that BSI/ASR produces five types of direct consumption sugars; adding that while they had feared effects from the drought experienced in the north, that was not the case.

Olivia Avilez – BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer: “Drought, funny enough this year was a blessing because of the cane quality. The dryer it is the more the sugar cane concentrates sugar so in that scenario of quality it’s a positive. Where it is a negative is the following crop because we have been through a real drought period and the cane that is coming up didn’t get enough water. We are still rain fed, we have very little irrigated fields, there are some trails by both farmers and BSI to irrigate fields so the drought will have an impact on the following crops production, this year it had a positive impact on the quality.”

The majority of the sugar that BSI/ASR produces is sold to the EU market.


A Very Good Year For Cane Production

The sugar cane crop, or La Zafra opened in December - and it closed this morning.

We found out from ASR/BSI that it was a very good year:..

Olivia Avilez, Farmer's Relations Mgr., ASR/BSI
"So today at 5:55am we received the last cane truck for the season 2018-2019. we set out to mill 1.3 million tons on cane and we are very happy that we achieve that target. So we ended up with 1.317 million tons and that is a new record for us. Our last record on cane milling was in 2016 and it was 1.314. So we are 4,000 tons of cane above our record and we are also above 11,000 tons of sugar above our last record in 2017 for 144,000 tons of sugar. So also we are above record for direct consumption sugars."

"Is this indicative that you all are receiving a higher yield of sugar from the same volume of tons insofar as either the sugar has a higher sucrose value or that it has less mud, that type of thing?"

Olivia Avilez
"Certainly, the cane that we are receiving from farmers which is 90% of the cane is sweeter, so yes. This year it was sweeter and a number of factors are important there. 1) the weather conditions were dry. With dryer weather conditions it concentrates the sugar better. So that was favourable, but also the farmers have done a tremendous job to ensure the quality of cane is there. Once we are delivered quality cane, the factory then has the priority to extract the maximum amount of sugar from that cane and that is what we called mill efficiency and that is our focus at BSI at the moment. It is about sugar. We need to take out the maximum amount of sugar of the same cane you brought in."

"With this record harvest and record yield, do we have record earnings?"

Olivia Avilez
"In terms of price we know that we are definitely in the global market and we have to go by that. It is not business as usual in the sugar industry. We are not enjoying - this is post October 2017 that we were talking so much about. We are not in the same position we were back then. Sugar cane price we are finalizing the numbers on what cane was milled. There are several factors that play into the cane estimates. we are still at estimates point. The cane supply numbers that we have today is one element. The next element are the different types of sugar we were able to produce, the cane to tons sugar that we were able to attain and definitely the process of each type of sugar and the types of molasses as well. So all of that needs to play in the estimate. We are finalizing that. Unfortunately, I cannot give you numbers because we are still in that process, but the cane price estimate will come out shortly, maybe in the next week or two and that's when we are able to say exact numbers. In general, it is going to be positive, because of the direct consumption sugars investments, the cane supply and the good quality."

And while production of regular and direct consumption sugar increased - the CARICOM market continues to be a problem. You'll hear about the efforts to penetrate that market tomorrow.

Channel 7

Re: Sugarcane crop closes [Re: Marty] #537326
07/17/19 05:09 AM
07/17/19 05:09 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,855
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Belize Sugar Industries & ASR Group Update

ASR BSI Group is heralding the close of another successful season. This year 1.3 million metric tons of cane was produce which is an increase from last year. We talked with representatives about the challenges of this year's season and the plans in place to grow the industry.

On our couch:
William Neal -Communications and Government Affairs Officer, ASR Group
Olivia Avilez - Cane Farmer Relations Manager, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)

Re: Sugarcane crop closes [Re: Marty] #537359
07/19/19 06:03 AM
07/19/19 06:03 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,855
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Cane Farmers continue to lose money

Sugar has been produced in Belize since slavery days and today it still remains vital to the economy. Most of the country’s sugar is sold to the European market but since the preferential prices have been discontinued in October 2017, it has cut profits by half. Love news spoke with William Neal, Communications and Government Affairs Officer of the Belize Sugar Industry who said that Belize has challenges when it comes to the market.

William Neal – Communications and Government Affairs Officer of BSI: “Of course, traditionally the E.U. was the most important market because of the preferential treatment that we received. It’s still the case except the prices are not so good. We are competing in a world where you have a global commodity reality. Prices have fallen from about twenty-four, twenty five cents to around eleven to thirteen cents so that is a fifty percent decrease. The E.U. market is still the largest market for us but because of the fall in prices our earnings are not so great and it also means that farmers are not being paid the amounts that they have been receiving in the past.”

Alfredo Ortega, the Orange Walk Branch Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, explained that payment for cane fell by a little over thirty dollars per ton.

Alfredo Ortega – Chairman of Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association:“Our prices have fallen from the crop of 2015, 2016. We have seen these prices regarding between forty and forty-five dollars per ton of cane so the situation in regards to prices, it has really harmed the farmers from since that time up to now. As you know right now our estimated price at this point in time is $43.83 on which not all of us are on that price because we are being paid based on quality and depending on the figures of quality where we fall so that varies a bit on the different test groups so the price and the E.U. situation has really harmed the farmers in regards to cane prices. If you can recall in 2015 our prices were in the vicinity of $75.25, that is what we got in our last payment in 2015.”

The European Union was pressured by the World Trade Union to eliminate the preferential prices with the Caribbean claiming that it infringed on fair trade. Belize Sugar Industry is looking at the CARICOM market as an option to sell its sugar to and hopes that CARICOM will put into place the policies to support regional producers.


Re: Sugarcane crop closes [Re: Marty] #537388
07/21/19 06:14 AM
07/21/19 06:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,855
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Record Cane Season Closes, But Cane Farmer Concerns Persist

The 2018/2019 sugar crop season recently came to a close on July 15, with the northern sugar industry seeing a record year of production at the Tower Hill factory in Orange Walk. The factory produced over 155,000 metric tons of sugar in an extended 214 day season, exceeding the previous record set in 2016 by more than 12 thousand metric tons. Despite this success, however, some farmers say they are still struggling to break even due to the price of cane on the market.

Farmers in Belize are paid $48.30 per tonne of cane delivered to the factory, however, some farmers believe they should fetch a higher price on the market as some farmers working at factories in neighboring Mexican towns collect upward of $90 per tonne of cane.

Chairman of the Orange Walk branch of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Alfredo Ortega told the Reporter that many farmers also had excess amounts of cane, taking a loss on the unused crops. He said farmers noted that there were some days when the mill was not operational due to maintenance, affecting farmers who otherwise would have made deliveries on those days.

American Sugar Refineries (ASR/BSI) Vice President Mac McLachlan said: “Due to the absence of proper management information, it is possible a small quantity of cane remains in the field, we estimate less than 1 percent. We know that is always regrettable and we hope that the estimation of the crop next year provides the accuracy needed to plan effectively.”

A spokesperson for Belize Sugar Industries told the Reporter, however, those maintenance delays at the factory were attributed to the production time for producing higher quality value added cane direct consumption sugar, which fetches a higher price on the market. According to BSI, with regard to price of cane per tonne, other markets pay based on demand for sugar and in other larger markets, most of their sugar in consumed and sold locally whereas the majority of sugar produced in Belize is exported. BSI explained that these and other international market forces are the factors that determine the prices.

The factory milled a total of over 1.317 million metric tons of sugar cane this season and the period of time for milling was extended due to favorable weather conditions. The mill is open on average for about 180 days per crop season, but was extended to 214 days as dryer weather conditions provided for easier milling of the cane, according to BSI. “This is a landmark crop,” BSI Country Manager, Celestino Ruiz said. “We are grateful to the farmers for bringing high quality cane and to our workers for extracting record quantities of sugar from it. With investment now pouring into the factory during the off crop, we are in a strong place to build a sustainable future for all involved in the industry.”

BSI also said it plans to expand its production of value added sugars through its various investment projects, which should translate to the vast majority of farmers being paid more equitably as currently only around 40% of farmers deliver more than 500 tonnes of cane per season, an amount that provides considerable profit margins compared to farmers who deliver less than 200 tonnes per season.

The Reporter

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