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Belize Sugar Industries says comeback year for sugar could have been even better

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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021. 8:51 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) has announced that the end of the 2020/2021 sugar crop season has come to a close.

It was a comeback season for “King Sugar,” producing 1.22 million tonnes of cane to be ground. The figure as to the amount of sugar produced is not yet available as final liquidation takes place.

Vice President of International Relations for BSI/ASR, Mac MacLachlan, acknowledged the challenges and difficulties of the season, which started slightly late, had to be paused due to internal difficulties, and ran into the teeth of the rainy season, making production more start-and-stop.

“I want to thank very much the cane farmers for bringing in all that cane. It was more or less what we expected, perhaps a little bit more than what we were expecting…And a huge shout-out to our mill employees also, who have managed this crop, even though we’ve had some pretty adverse weather throughout parts of it, which have been difficult,” MacLachlan told reporters during a virtual session on Thursday.

Of the total, about half is direct consumption sugar that will be bagged, sold, and shipped out in containers. And the other half is raw sugar that will go out as bulk sugar for refining in the United Kingdom and European Union.

But, the millers say that the quality of cane delivered for this crop season wasn’t as good as previous years, and so, more cane will be needed to make 1 tonne of sugar.

Just a few years ago, cane quality and sugar quality was at its near-best because of dry conditions and just the right amount of rain, along with efforts and inputs that farmers are making, both replanting and husbandry. But then came the drought that killed off more than a quarter of sugar cane production, and this year was spent trying to get most of it back. The weather gave and took away, according to MacLachlan, because of conditions at the start of the season when most of the country was flooded by Hurricanes Eta and Iota.

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