By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) Limited this afternoon will address with reporters an update on the sugar cane season, specifically as it relates to what it calls “extraneous material entering the mill with cane deliveries.
Usually, this refers to mud, which the mill says is within acceptable parameters; but it is now seeing a higher level of metal, rocks, and rubble that if entered into the mill without detection can cause severe breakdown and destruction of mill equipment which will, in turn, lead to heavy downtime. Examples include large metal objects such as floor plates, sidewalls, transmission axles, oil filters, chain holders, tubes, metal pins, and door hinges.
BSI signaled that, “We are hopeful that the evidence collected is due to oversights at some point in the field inspections during harvesting practices by some farmers and not direct attempts at acts of sabotage to the mill.”
The producers are asking the Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC) and each of the four sugar farmers’ associations to maintain good harvesting practices including potentially banning what are known as push-pilers during reaping, particularly among repeat offenders.
BSI concludes, “We, therefore, ask the SCPC and leaders of associations to ensure farmers’ cabins and trailers are clean and free of debris before loading of cane. Any interruption to the crop as a result of extraneous material entering the mill will impact negatively on the whole industry. BSI encourages farmers, associations, and SCPC to continue seeking ways to ensure that mud levels remain controlled and prevent other extraneous material from being delivered with cane.”