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With rising prices the 2021-2022 sugar crop could have been better; final figures are in

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2022. 8:54 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes:The 2021-2022 sugar crop, the 55th for the Tower Hill factory, came to an end in July and final figures for the year’s results have been provided by the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB).

A total of 1,162,234 tons of cane was delivered across 214 days, producing 125,267 metric tons of sugar. However, for various reasons the percentage of cane delivered was off by about 67 thousand tons while a further 178 thousand tons were lost due to various delays and vagaries. More than 60 thousand tons was raw sugar, followed by Demerara brown sugar at more than 50 thousand tons and plantation white sugar at more than 10,000 tons.

The tons cane to tons sugar ratio was a solid 9.28, while the figure of tons of cane ground per day was down slightly due to maintenance on the mill in the early part of the season.

According to the SICB, the five days of blockade of the factory in the first week of the season cost 17,500 tons of cane. A total of 40 days and 178,700 tons of cane was lost due to the weather, mill capacity and mechanical issues.
Olivia Carballo-Avilez, Cane Farmers’ Relations Manager for Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR), allowed to reporters in an end-of-year review that those lost days cannot be brought back and each side will rue yet another late start to the crop: “We started late; we could have started on December 20th. It is when the mill was ready, and we were ready to go. We had challenges with weather issues. We had a stop for about 14 days, which really you cannot take back. Those days are gone, and so, because of the finite time of a crop season, we have to wrap things up and start our repair season.”

But there are other successes to report according to Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance for BSI/ASR, with the change from loading in Belize City to the facility at Big Creek Port: “…we expect that this year, we will save around $2.5 million, and that’s just on the farmers’ portion, right. So, the farmers are definitely benefiting this year from that transition to Big Creek, and we’ve been very, very pleased with the results. …There’s also benefits from the investment in the expansion of direct consumption of sugar. So, this year is a record year for us in terms of the production of value-added sugar. About 50 [percent] of the sugar we produce this year is value-added. It’s more than last year, and that as well will result in an improvement in prices for cane farmers. Last year, we estimated that the benefit of selling the DC overall was around $3.67 per tonne of cane. This year we expect it to be the same. So, if you combine the Big Creek and the value-added, that’s about $5 per tonne of cane more than farmers are receiving this year as a result of those savings.”

Chavarria noted that the last estimate for the first payment on cane was $60.24 per ton; the SICB lists it at $60.23. A second payment is due around this time, approximately five weeks after the end of crop, followed by a final payment on the first Monday of November, which are expected to be even better due to world market prices.


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