Yesterday, we told you about the Sugar Stakeholders Meeting that representatives of the CARICOM member-states attended to discuss the state of the Caribbean market for sugar.
This market could be the answer to the financial woes that farmers in the north have been looking for, ever since Belize's sugar lost its preferential market access in the European Union. That's their biggest concern, but the most urgent at this time is how they will recover from this year's extended drought, which has caused the country's entire agro-productive sector to lose approximately 50 million dollars .
When the state of affairs of the cane industry was brought up with the Director of Belize Sugar Industries yesterday, he told the press that he has concerns about the next cane delivery season, given that it will start in a few months. He explained why:Mac McLachlan - Director, Belize Sugar Industries"I think it's inevitable, with the level of drought that we've suffered, in these crucial, recent months, that we will not have the same estimate of the crop that we would have had last year. I don't have a direct estimate for you at the moment. Remember, we had a record crop, record sugar production. This year, I know that cane is stressed, very stressed. It's had a lot of difficulties because of the lack of water. I think, we as an industry, farmers ourselves, we have to come together. We have to look at the best mitigation we can make for that, to ensure that this doesn't have effects beyond this year, into the next few years. We're looking at climate smart solutions to some of the problems we have. We've got major proposals with the 5C's at the moment, the Green Climate Fund, to try and bring assistance. Now, this is needed anyway. It's needed because of the impact of climate change on a rain-fed crop that we have in Belize. So, we need to look at a lot of different solutions. They're not gonna come overnight. We need to look at water management. We need to look at different kinds of varieties that are gonna perform better in more volatile weather conditions. But, unfortunately, this is a major blow to the industry and to the cane farmers, as we have seen in particular in some of the cane farms, significant damage to the crop."
The cane farmers are expected to be among those who will benefit from the Government's aid for all farmers, which was announced last month.Channel 7