As we reported, yesterday the 2017/2018 sugar cane crop has come to a close. According to BSI/ASR, the total cane delivered and milled was lower than last year, while the total sugar produced is yet to be calculated. But that does not necessarily mean bad news for the industry stakeholders. This crop has seen improved sugar cane quality and there have been other improvements made within the industry to help minimize the impact of the market shifts and lowered sugar prices. The complete performance report is still pending but today Love News spoke with BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer Olivia Avilez for a preliminary assessment.
Dalilah Ical: The last Sugar cane deliveries were made on Wednesday to the BSI factory as the crop drew to a close. Sugar productions continues however so how did the farmers perform? BSI cane farmers relations officer Olivia Avilez told us.
BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer Olivia Avilez: Total sugar cane deliveries was 1.274 million metric tons of cane. This is short of 16,000 metric tons from last year which was at 1.29 million metric tons and a little short from 1.39 million metric tons that was submitted as estimate but it was really challenging crop.
Dalilah Ical: And those challenges had a lot to do with the weather.
BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer Olivia Avilez: Generally we had very dry crops in the last two years but this year we had rain or precipitation every month of the crop. In March for example we registered the highest rainfall in the last six years and so that made it a little bit difficult throughout the year because the fields get muddy. The cane comes with mud so therefore the factory has to grind a little bit slower to extract the sugar and take out mud and farmers of course have difficulties in the field to take out the cane.
Dalilah Ical: The mill also had to slow down somewhat due to the weather and also in part due to expansion works at the factory to accommodate the increase of production of direct consumption sugars. Still the mill maintained good efficiencies on sugar extractions and recovery but there are improvements to report.
BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer Olivia Avilez: BSI really thanks the famers for making every effort to deliver their cane this year so we are made to understand that all the cane came in so that’s very important as well. They were able to maintain very good quality throughout the corrupt season. We ended you with a preliminary number of 8.9 tons cane to tons sugar which is rather good, 8.96 and that demonstrates that the quality on the ground was good throughout the year even though the weather conditions were challenging.
Dalilah Ical: The expansions at the mill have also led to a higher performance capacity.
BSI’s Cane Farmers Relations Officer Olivia Avilez: What is important is that next year the mil is moving from a capacity of 1.25 million metric tons of cane to 1.35 million metric tons of cane in 26 weeks. Now again this all depends on weather conditions and types of sugars that we are producing but the capacity next year are improving and definitely next year is improving and we ought to be able to mil very comfortably the 7000 to 7200 tons per day.
Dalilah Ical: With less sugar cane delivered it is expected that less sugar will be produced. The final figures will be released in the days ahead. Dalilah ICal Love News.
A press release from BSI states that despite lower prices on the global market the company says it continues to demonstrate optimism and work in tandem with the Government of Belize to open new market opportunities, especially in the Caribbean region. Key industry strategies and investments such as expanding the Mechanical Harvesting Project and completion of a twenty two million Project to Expand Direct Consumption Sugar, will help offset the adverse developments and ensure long-term viability of the industry.