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IDB $15 million loan will help struggling sugar industry

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019. 8:48 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Between the loss of preferential markets in the United Kingdom for sugar exports and record lows in the global price of sugar, Belize’s sugar industry has been going through a difficult time. Belize Sugar Industries, owned by the American Sugar Refineries Group (ASR/BSI), is trying to adapt to the changes through a  $15 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

According to the IDB, the loan is geared towards allowing BSI to increase its production and exports of higher value-added sugars, diversifying its export markets and strengthening its value chain.

“The financing will help BSI make investments to its mill aimed to mitigate the fall in prices of raw sugar in the European Union its main export market, by increasing its production capacity to market products that attract higher prices in the international markets than raw sugar,” the IDB said.

The IDB said that it will also give technical assistance so as to help improve the agricultural productivity and sustainability of these sugar cane producers in northern Belize. The IDB noted that the resulting revenue increase that comes from producing more sugar will directly benefit more than 5,400 small and medium size sugarcane farmer operations who share the net sales of the sugar with BSI.

BSI has been stressing for years that improved productivity in the sugar industry is essential to ensuring the industry’s longevity. The company’s production research data showed that Belize has among the lowest sugarcane yield per acre in the world.

The data shows that Belize produces 17 tons of cane per acre, while other countries such as Mexico produces closer to 30 tons. Guatemala, which has the largest production in the region, produces some 41 tons per acre.


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