By Aaron Humes: As of 9:15 this morning, Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) had begun to receive cane at the factory at Tower Hill, Orange Walk.
Shortly thereafter, according to a BSI official, the first truck to deliver cane included a medium to large-size stone among the cane stalks.
Tensions remain high in the North and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) was questioned, as the truck reportedly belongs to one of its members.
But BSCFA Chairman Andy Westby told us by telephone it was purely an accident, as occasionally the cane harvester picks up stones in rocky areas where cane is planted.
Westby maintained that the BSCFA wants every opportunity to deliver cane and that the purity test for its deliveries this morning, measuring sucrose content, came in at 86 percent, well above the 81 percent required by agreement with BSI/ASR even after a week’s delay.
Westby told us that for obvious reasons they would not want to sabotage or impede the mill now that the crop has restarted.
An estimated 1.35 million tonnes of cane is hoped to be delivered and milled in the next six months.
Meanwhile, BSI says it will continue to monitor the cane coming to avoid any other surprises. Milling is expected to start as of 10 a.m.