Posted: Friday, March 5, 2021. 8:39 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) is providing a new tool to help farmers who deliver to its mill in Tower Hill, Orange Walk District, provide the best quality sugar cane to produce the best quality sugar.
25 refractometers, used to test the cane stalk for the highest sweetness based on parameters related to Brix, which determines the Maturity Index (The higher the Brix the better and more mature the cane is) were handed over on Tuesday to harvesting group leaders (HGLs), trained in a special project, to continue using this tool in the proper planning and harvesting of their cane fields.
The Pre-harvest Cane Quality Project, signals BSI’s unwavering commitment to moving the industry forward at all levels. It was launched in 2017 and ended last November, providing technical assistance and training to test groups and HGLs on ways to select the sweetest and most mature cane for harvesting utilizing refractometers. This scientific approach to the maturity and readiness of sugar cane provided cane sampling data which on analysis empowered farmers to make better harvesting plans.
Some 4,904 farmers participated, enrolled in 18 test groups led by 250 HGLs. Some 53,488 individual samples were collected from farmers in 6,574 sample fields. 29,028 aggregated analysis results were returned to farmers. The project achieved 86 percent average purity and 17 of the 18 groups completed their harvesting plans.
The Pre-Harvest Cane Quality Program was executed by ASR Group Belize Sugar in collaboration with the Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC) with co-funding from the Hershey Company. Its second phase will focus on capacity building to monitor and control the Stem borer, a new pest affecting the sugar industry of northern Belize.
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