January 15, 2020 has been confirmed as the start of the 2020 sugar cane crop season. Ordinarily, the season begins in the second week of December. It was delayed, however, due to the drought that affected many sectors in mid-2019, including sugar cane. In a meeting held today on the BSI compound in Tower Hill, stakeholders in the sugar sector discussed various concerns about the sugar season and were able to agree on the start of the next crop. According to Olivia Carballo-Avilez, Cane Farmers’ Relations Manager of BSI, contrary to reports circulating, the BSI mill is ready to receive cane and has been ready since December.

Olivia Avilez, Cane Farmers Relations Manager, BSI/ASAR: “We are expecting and forecasting a low production on cane quality but even above that we are going to work hard to have the best season that we can have. The farmers are optimistic as we are and we’re ready to start the season so we are ready to go. The mill is ready for start up since December, we usually start a crop in December, there is some work that usually happens just before the start of crop for example we have to be testing all equipment but we can’t do that until a week before the start up so we’re not sure where the comments are coming from but the mill is certainly ready. We started steam trials yesterday they seem to be going very well. We have all the other rest of machines to start up throughout from Today to the start up next week but if you pass by Orange Walk you will see the stalk steaming already and that indicates that we are testing and trialling everything.”

In 2019, BSI recorded their highest production, in the figure of one point three-one-seven tons of sugar milled. According to Avilez, a thirty percent decrease is anticipated for this year due to last year’s drought.