Thursday, July 16th, 2015. BMG: The sugar cane crop season in Belize has ended for the period 2014/2015 and stakeholders in the industry are calling it “the best crop season ever in the history of the industry,” even though cultivation started almost two months late.
The Sugar Industry Control Board issued the official figures of the performance for this year and it shows that after the crop season closed on Sunday, July 12th, a total of 1,186,153 tons of sugar cane was delivered to the BSI factory.
The total amount of sugar produced was 142,533 tons and for the period 2014-2015, the Tons of Cane per Tons of Sugar (TCTS) was the lowest at 8.32. Marcos Osorio, the Director of the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute ( SIRDI) told the media that “the excellent performance is due to the superb production by the cane farmers who delivered mature sugar cane throughout the crop season.”
“The weather was also perfect contributing to the industry’s success but most importantly, harvesting practices were improved significantly along with improved sugar extraction at the mill,” he added. “In short, stakeholders optimized its efficiency,” Osorio said. As indicated before, the cultivating season saw a late start on January 20, 2015, almost two months from its annual normal schedule which gave stakeholders a total of 24 weeks of crop including extension periods.
However, the shortened crop season did not allow farmers to deliver all of their sugar cane, and many are expressing their displeasure as some delivered less than half the total production, while others did not deliver a single ton of sugar cane to the mill.
Chairman of the Sugar Cane Production Committee, Jose Novelo informed the farmers and media that they will be conducting a full assessment of the stand over cane. “When operations begin on schedule not more than twenty percent of the total sugar cane produced is left on the fields at the end of a crop,” stated Novelo.
“It is for this reason that we are aiming at returning to the normal grinding season which traditionally starts in November depending on weather conditions and ends in May,” asserted both Novelo and the Chair of the Sugar Industry Control Board, Gabriel Martinez.
Novelo further stated that following the success of this crop season, it has been established that the factory can mill 1.3 million tons of sugar cane in a twenty-six week period and after their assessment of the sugar cane left standing, they can establish when is the best time to start harvesting to further optimize the industry’s performance.
Moreover, SIRDI hopes to conclude its Sugar Industry Management Information System (SIMIS) by August which will show a near accurate quantity and location of cane in production. This data will help stakeholders in the industry in better decision making for each crop season.
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