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Farmers receive low price for sugar cane

Tuesday, November 10, 2015.  BMG: BMG has learned that the first estimate for prices of raw sugar cane has been released, and it is a blow to farmers in the North who have a record amount of cane in the field for the upcoming sugar crop.

Alfredo-Ortega1

Alfredo Ortega

Producers Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) have estimated a price of $41.56 per ton, with some 1.225 million tons of cane available from which BSI expects to mill 129,000 tons of sugar. However, according to former BSCFA president and branch leader Alfredo Ortega, there is more than that amount available.

According to BSI officials the low estimate price reflects the prices in the EU market and they claim to have started seeing this since last year but it did not have an impact then due to prices in former contracts with Tate & Lyle that extended to the 2015 crop.

The drop in the EU market is below the minimum price of 4.25 euros that was in the last contract with tate and lyle.

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Belizario Carballo

BSI Financial Director Belizario Carballo reported that they were receiving up to about 100 euros more over actual prices last year which hiked up the prices for farmers to as much as $75; the new estimate price reflects the actual price now in the EU market and which is in the new contract with Tate and Lyle.

BSI forecasts that prices in the EU and world markets will grow closely aligned over the next few years and will fluctuate as a result of the removal of regulation in Europe over beet sugar.

BSI officials say this drives the need to focus and work on the Strategic Development Plan that had been signed on by farmers in the contract with BSI to adjust to the changes and remain competitive.

BSI and stakeholders are yet to conclude an estimation of how much cane is produced for the new crop, taking into consideration the impacts of the drought and if there is more cane than estimated it is important to start the crop early.

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Leonardo Cano

There is no exact date for the crop to start as stakeholders haven’t met to decide that but tentatively the proposed date is November 30th.

The new BSCFA committee of management chair Leonardo Cano says he will comment until after a meeting with members today.

BSI will have further comment on Wednesday.

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