Stakeholders of the Sugar Industry are planning for the future

Planning for the future – that’s what stakeholders of the Sugar Industry are presently engaged in. It is expected that in October of 2017, changes to the EU sugar regime may impact prices in Belize’s major export market, reducing revenue from Belize sugar sales. Quotas which have regulated access of beet sugar to the EU market place will be removed. The anticipated increase in supply is expected to reduce sugar prices and in turn, the value of the preferential access to the EU market. Consequently, the Belize Sugar Industry must, from now, put in place the steps necessary to improve its competitiveness before this happens. Over the past week, under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, industry stakeholders met in Orange Walk and Corozal, in a series of sessions discuss how to prepare Belize’s sugar sector to be able to compete effectively within a more volatile sugar market. The main solutions identified were to increase sugar cane production, matched by increased efficiency and capacity at the mill. BSI presented the details of a $23 million capital investment program, which includes additional evaporator capacity and the installation of cane knives that will increase throughput and improve the overall time efficiency of the mill. Discussion also took place on improving harvesting and delivery practices, development of a regulatory environment conducive to industry growth, and how to secure timely and affordable credit to help cane farmers to achieve increased productivity. According to a press release from BSI, although the BSCFA leadership decided to disassociate itself from these meetings, a wide range of farmers participated.

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