Posted By: Marty


Manuela Ayuso Cantun reporting.....

Things are beginning to look up for the Sugar Industry as farmers seem to take heed of advice for the harvesting of fresh, clean and mature cane. BSI reports an excellent first week of crop. Factory Manager John Gillet tells us more.

John Gillett – BSI Factory Manager

“We started off very good indeed. Last year at this time we only had about eight thousand tons of cane being milled; for the first week we milled just over thirty thousand tons of cane; up to this morning we have milled just over thirty five thousand tons. I must say the cane quality is the complete opposite of what it was last year, very good cane quality this year indeed because that amount of cane which we have milled up to this morning has produced over three thousand five hundred tons of sugar at a TCTS of nine point eight for the first eek. Our week runs from Wednesday to Tuesday and for the first week we showed a TCTS of nine point eight zero which is very encouraging.”

Last year the BSI factory saw numerous break downs as a result of the linkage between BSI and Belcogen Gillet says this first week of crop the factory has performed well.

John Gillett – BSI Factory Manager

“The factory is performing well. We had an accumulation of cane because of a minor problem that we had on a transformer but we have sorted that out and the factory is going well."

We understand that starting next week the payment for quality system will begin.

John Gillett – BSI Factory Manager

“That is what will be implemented as of Monday because you know we open our gates after the Christmas 10 o’clock on Monday 27th and it then that we intend to start that. I just want to encourage the farmers to continue delivering this excellent quality cane, if they can deliver this excellent quality cane then no doubt they will see the reflection in the price per ton cane at the end of the year.” A

nd while BSI is reporting a good first week there are some farmers who are concerned with the cane that was not received before 10 o’clock today when the factory stopped receiving came for the Christmas break. Cane farmer David Ackerman called us to raise his concern.

David Ackerman – Canefarmer

“The sugar industry is going through a crisis and farmers have taken the steps in trying to bring their reforms together. They are delivering high quality cane to BSI and now to farmers today at 10 a.m. would have been the last of the delivery until the 27th. Nevertheless 18 trucks which is approximately 350 tons of cane which would produce an average of 35 tons of sugar was not allowed to be weighed and go into the compound. This 350 tons of cane will be received until the 27th by the 27th this 350 tons of cane will be already spoilt. I think it wasn’t fair by BSI to leave these farmers out, farmers are trying to do their utmost best in trying to keep cane quality and here today you do an act such as that. I would agree if it was a bigger quantity that was left out, but 350 tons leaving these farmers, their trucks exposed, for them to be burglarized, until the 27th, I don’t think it is fair.”

Gillett would not go on record to comment on the trucks left in the queue. BSI will start receiving again on Monday at 10 a.m.

Posted By: Marty


Sugar cane crop begins with hope and a prayer

All parties in the sugar industry appear optimistic as the 2011 crop got under way on Wednesday, December 15, but sobered no less by the recent threat of closure.

The crop opening was livelier than normal because both BSI, the Belize Sugar Industries, and cane farmers in Corozal and Orange Walk began the crop with a renewed commitment to succeed.

BSI’s Finance Director, Belizario Carballo, told Reporter, that this year’s crop is most significant because its success or failure could determine the future of the industry in Belize - revive the industry or sound its death knell.

The Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute has been revitalized, Carballo said. It is an arm of the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB), and will provide technical support to cane farmers.

The Institute is not to be confused with the Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC), another arm of Sugar Industry Control Board, charged with implementing and supervising the quality control program to which all parties: the government, SICB, BSI and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association subscribe.

Carballo said cane quality will be reflected in the new payment structure which has come into effect, as agreed upon.

The 18 branches of the association, nine from Corozal and nine from Orange Walk, have formed 14 Quality Test Groups. Some of these were able to form groups within themselves because of their large size.

These groups have a dual function - of helping with cane quality and speeding up the time frame for cut cane to reach the mill. This is critical for quality control. The fresher the cane, the more sucrose it produces since fermentation causes a loss of sugar in the cane.

In the past, many tons of sucrose have been lost because cane quality deteriorates while farmers spend hours, even days, waiting in line outside the factory to deliver their sugarcane.

Test groups will now assign the farmers specific time slots, during which farmers of each branch must be able to deliver their cane, eliminating needless congestion and delays at the factory.
Carballo said the European Union’s Accompanying Measures Fund has opened up a $48 million line of credit to the industry.

Some of this money has been used for infrastructural developments, and about $16 million has been allotted to help make this year’s crop better.

The EU fund is to help the industry become more competitive now markets are no longer protected and quotas no longer exist as far as the European sugar market is concerned.

Last year the European Union slashed its imports from ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries by 22 percent.

Carballo cautioned that all parties need to adhere to the conditions of the signed agreement to ensure long-term stability and success for the sugar industry in Belize.

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