When our news team spoke to BSIs Manager of Research and Cane Farmer Relations Ed Zetina this morning, he told us that this year the factory plans to export between 14,000 and 16,000 tons of sugar to the US. According to Zetina, the market has been available to us for a while, but two factors kept us from taking advantage.

edEduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“We’ve always had a market in the U.S., we had a minimal market of about eight thousand tonnes of sugar going to the U.S in the last four year, if I am not mistaken, that market has not been supplied and if it had not been supplied mainly for two reasons . One the E.U. market where that sugar went was a better market in terms of prices and secondly the quality of sugar that we were producing would have exacted serious penalties if we went to the U.S. The U.S. has more stringent criteria for sugar going to that market than the E.U. so; we decided that the best thing to do was to move that sugar to the E.U. market so we’ve had the market now this year the E.U market looks very attractive because the price of the U.S market depends on the world market of sugar so the higher the world market the higher the U.S. market so this year because of the quality of sugar we are producing, excellent quality, and because of the good prices in the U.S. market we want to move between fourteen and sixteen thousand tonnes of sugar to that U.S market let us not forget that that market had always been there except that we have relied on last four years we have not delivered in that market.”

Zetina says that exporting sugar to the US wont in any way affect our relationship with the European Market, since Belize has the ability to produce enough to satisfy the EU, the US and local markets.

Eduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“We have a contract, current supplied contract, of about seventy thousand tonnes of sugar to the E.U. market. We expect that we will produce in the region of about one hundred and ten thousand tonnes of sugar. That one hundred and ten thousand tonnes of sugar will be enough to supply the E.U market, the U.S market, and our local market which is what we are gearing for.”

But the concern about low production of cane is a real, one which will severely affect our ability to take advantage of the opportunity given to us.

Eduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“We have a market for at least one hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of sugar, we as an industry are in a unique position in that we have available market and we don’t have the products an available market with reasonably good price but we don’t have the cane to make those products that those market are seeking so as we speak now we have a market for one hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of sugar we need one point five million tonnes of cane that is essentially what this industry need in order to achieve the one hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of sugar and these market of course at some point if we don’t fill them somebody else will fill them for us and we may end up losing them but in end I think the solution relies in our ability as an industry to increase cane production and ensure that we deliver that cane the best possible state.”

And the bottom line more production, more markets and better prices works out to a bigger windfall for the farmers and for the factory.

Eduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“Absolutely yes, we have a system of revenue sharing with the farmers that the better price the sugar is sold the more we share with farmers it is a sixty-five thirty-five percent relationship that we have, sixty-five for the farmers thirty-five for the mill after we remove the cost to ship that sugar.”

According to Zetina, if all goes as anticipated the season will close by mid-July.

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