The Belize Sugar Industry is close to completing phase one of its proposed Direct Consumption Sugar Expansion Project. The project came about following a cut in Belize sugar export to the European market and continuous drop in world market prices. It aims to minimize the impact on Belize’s sugar industry. Work began on the project in September of last year and since the start of the crop, BSI has been producing six types of Direct Consumption Sugars. Today the company hosted the media for a tour of the expansions at the mill. Here’s that story.
DC SUGAR PROJECT
Dalilah Ical: Phase one of the Direct Consumption Sugar Expansion Project is well on target according to officials at BSI in fact they are well ahead of the 18 month completion deadline. Since last September the company has made significant expansions in four areas: These include the Boiling House, Air Conditioning System, Molasses Torch Tank and the Warehouse which is still under construction.
Nolberto Leiva Production Superintendent: We had the House expansion which is one part of the phase one project that included a number of equipment’s that will enhance the production of the direct consumption of sugar and further increase the Milling rate of our factory. Most of the equipment’s have been commissioned with the exception of the warehouse which is about 78% completed and has been kept back because of weather conditions.
Dalilah Ical: The company aims at producing 20,000 tons of direct consumption sugar in phase 1, the investment aims to increase revenue per ton of cane to an estimated $2.13 cents since DC Sugars are sold at premium prices.
Mac Mclachan VP International Relations ASR/ B.S.I.: It has an indicative estimate based on the prices we had at the outset of the project, now those prices of course change, they change every day and what we tend to do is we try and make sure that we have contracts locked in so that we are getting the best deals we can get.
Dalilah Ical: Currently BSI is producing six types of DC sugars, most of which will be exported the European market this season.
Mac Mclachan VP International Relations ASR/ B.S.I.: When you are looking at a value added product obviously you want to produce the product for the market. Europe were finding a low there is an overall reduction in consumption of sugar in Europe. There is an increase demand for direct consumption type sugars that are not simply the white refined sugar that you get from European refineries and that’s the market we are aiming at initially here, we are looking at that but equally CARICOM is another key market for us moving forward where we will be able to provide and make the types of sugar that market is demanding and as a result of that we’ll get a higher premium for those sugars.
Dalilah ICal: A small quota of the production will be pushed into the U.S. however accessibility to other markets maybe more challenging.’
Mac Mclachan VP International Relations ASR/ B.S.I.: Regional Markets protect their own Sugar Industries and that tends to exclude our access to those markets because for example in Mexico and the U.S. and Guatemala those markets are protected, that tends to give the sugar producers and advantage because they get a higher price in those markets and what they are then exporting on the market is the residual sugar that’s left after they have supported their own consumers and that enables them to export their sugar at very low prices. The CARICOM is one of the only regions where it doesn’t fully support its sugar region by premising the importation of so much sugar without a common external Tariff so it’s a complicated issue. Essentially we are very restricted in the markets, that said the more we go down the track of producing quality food grade sugars that will have added value the more opportunities we will get in other markets to sell that sugar.
Dalilah Ical: The Company’s competitiveness is key to the success of the project, key among the expansions is the conditioning system which will provide BSI with that competitive advantage.
Mac Mclachan VP International Relations ASR/ B.S.I.: We have now done what we said we are going to do, we have put in place some sugar conditioning at this mill. I believe that is the only mill in the region to have that technology. Sugar conditioning essentially conditions the Sugar by getting the Sugar into a constant state of inputs, condition air through the sugar which enables it to maintain its quality for long periods of time, it helps with packaging and it’s basically a very high quality food grade sugar that is being produced as a result of that.
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