The opening of sugar cane crop 2018/19 is set for Thursday. American Sugar Refineries, the owner of Belize Sugar Industries is monitoring the crop as the world price per ton continues to drop and some preferential markets begin to dry up. Love News spoke to William Neal, ASR/BSI’s Government Affairs and Communications Officer.
William Neal, ASR/BSI’s Government Affairs and Communications Officer: “In terms of CARICOM, Belize has taken a lead in terms of what we are doing but the work that is happening in CARICOM is really for sustainability for all sugar producers within CARICOM. It cannot be a one man show. It has to be to the benefit of CARICOM and testament really to the CSME that it can work and sugar would be proof that the CSME can work for the benefits of all involved.”
Jose Sanchez: “In regards to recent measures, BSI has implemented including new tug boats etc. what kind of yields do you expect to be different knowing the cost and our European markets are closing down on us? What do you expect?
William Neal, ASR/BSI’s Government Affairs and Communications Officer: “Well I think the shift has to be increasing efficiencies in all areas: from logistics, to farm, to how you get it to the factory so it’s across the board. Change is hard because you’re talking about 5000 plus farmers so it’s not just a business deciding that you are going to do all of these things alone. You need the support of the Government, you need the support of the farmers to make it all work so it’s not a one off kind of thing that there is a wand that you can wave to actually increase it, it’s a strategic plan that must be implemented across the industry to make it sustainable.”
Jose Sanchez: “How do educate the farmers to see you more as a partner and not just a corporation that wants more profit. How do you educate them that they need to be efficient?”
William Neal, ASR/BSI’s Government Affairs and Communications Officer: “Well I think you look at the profit shares, its 65/35 and that is a key part of it. Traditionally history has been something that we have had to combat very heavily but I think a lot of what we are doing now that includes partnership with the Farmer associations: you have three association, proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that we can’t make sugar if we don’t have cane so if the farmers are not successful and productive we cant be successful or productive as well.”