The Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS) was started in 2006 with the aim to minimize the impact of sugar tariff. The European Union committed a grant fund of 72 Million Euros in total over the past decade into the Belize Sugar Industry. Over one hundred projects were implemented throughout the course of the Project. After 12 years and much development, the Accompanying Measures for Sugar has come to an end. A conference was held in Belize City this morning to outline the accomplishments of the project. EU’s Ambassador for Belize, Malgorzata Wasilewska, outlined those accomplishments.
Malgarzata Wasilewska, EU Ambassador to Belize: The sugar belt in the northern part of the country now has more than 200 kilometers of newly rehabilitated and paved feeder roads. Me, myself, the two years that I have been coming to Belize have been to the communities and listened to the people, you know like what difference the
roads feel to them; how fast they can easily get into, services to schools to jobs. They can get up later in order to get to work and so forth; it really is an honor to see that impact. This improved road infrastructure and technology of the near infrared laboratory has also increased competitiveness of the sugar sector, not to mention the new information system CMS. More than 1000 credit loans of the sugar cane replanting program facilitated the renewal of all sugar plantations, the planting of new sugar varieties. Together with the new agricultural equipment, the soil laboratory, the pests and diseases laboratory and the sugar industry information system. The sector has now achieved more production and higher productivity, so all these measures are there in order to protect you.
According to the UE Ambassador, there were some challenges along the way and some projects were not completed. She further stated that some of the projects will require continued efforts from the stakeholders. Nonetheless, according to SICB’s Chairman, Gabriel Martinez, it is a day of celebration for Belize’s Sugar industry
Gabriel Martinez, SICB Chairman: So I think that this package has assisted in a very major way to have our farmers prepare for these difficult times. I know that our farmers are anxiously waiting and are also very supportive to the government to see how we can penetrate the CARICOM market. The bottom line is that we have better prices for everybody. This event is a celebration indeed for the sugar industry.