BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 18, 2019– The Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) and American Sugar Refining (ASR) are celebrating a record-breaking harvest of the sugar cane crop. The sugar cane season commenced in December of 2018 and ended at 5:55 a.m. on Monday, July 15, 2019.
Within this period, the BSI managed to harvest 1.317 million tons of sugar, surpassing the 1.314 million ton record that was set in 2016. BSI Farmers’ Relations Officer, Olivia Avilez, discussed the factors that played a role in the industry’s achievement, such as dry weather conditions, mill efficiency, and the efforts of local cane farmers to ensure the quality of the cane remained up to par.
Although the yield of sugar from the cane crop is remarkable, the industry is facing some challenges with the pricing of sugar. According to Avilez, since October of 2017, business has not been running as usual in the industry. The foothold that BSI had two years ago is not the same, and the industry is trying to more deeply embed itself in the CARICOM market and also increase direct consumption.
BSI produces five different types of sugar and the EU is their largest consumer; however, the CARICOM market has been a challenge for them to penetrate. The main cause seems to be the policies governing the importation/exportation of the various sugars which have been under consideration for years. The industry is still positive that they are in a good position to increase their market share.
BSI is arranging for a consultant to look into sustainable measures for the plantation white sugars and continuing to explore other measures to regain the level of capital earned prior to 2017.