BSI/ASR Says Every Day Counts When Starting the New Crop Season
The new sugar cane crop season was initially proposed to commence on Monday, December 19; however, that was postponed by a week due to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ (BSCFA) and the BSI/ASR not arriving to a conclusive decision on the commercial agreement. Two other sugar cane farmers’ associations in the north had been calling for the mill to open its gates since their commercial agreements are set in stone and they are ready. This eagerness to begin deliveries as early as possible stems from concerns that this year’s season will mirror what happened last year when there was a three-day blockade at the mill causing millions in loss for the farmers. BSI/ASR has stated that they also suffered financial losses as a result of this. BSI/ASR’s Farmer Relations Manager, Olivia Avilez, explains the importance of starting on time and what are the detrimental impacts of beginning late.
Olivia Carballo-Avilez, Cane Farmers Relations Manager, BSI: “When we lose it’s not just days we lose the amount of cane for example if we would have started milling on 3/5 we would have lost that by six right or by 8 whichever number you use. What is worse when you don’t have your crop in cycle is that you’re losing sugar and you’re losing also impacting the following crop. For example right now the cane is already impacted you have the stand over cane that we didn’t mill last year because we had a really late start again so that was several weeks so you have that came already impacted that’s going to start to come into the factory. You have less sugar from the year before and you are also having those fields not able to ratoon and ratoon means simply when you cut it back it grows back like a grass so you don’t have that production, you don’t have the sugar content that should have come in and you also don’t have the optimal time of that cane because of course the maturity of that is long gone. So when you’re calculating or when you’re looking at the impact of not starting a crop season in time you have to look at all of those factors.”