Last night in our newscast BSI’s Manager of Research and Cane Farmer Relations Eduardo Zetina commended farmers for the quality of cane being brought into the factory, but at the same time called for an increase in the quantity. He claimed that for the past few years they have noticed a trend of decreasing production, which means that the factory is not operating to capacity. Today BSCFA’s Chairman confirmed for our news team that farmers would not be able to deliver 1.1 million tons of cane to the factory.

alfredoAlfredo Ortega Chairman, BSCFA

“We have seen and we are experiencing at this point in time that we won’t be able to achieve the one point one million tonnes of cane being that the stand over cane that were unable to be harvested last year, farmers were only able to get out of those cane between thirty to forty percent so, it’s a great set back and the canes that were harvested in the ending of July and August we are seeing that those canes won’t be able to be harvested in this crop so those are setbacks that the farmers having in this time and those are the problems that brings us to this point that we see that we won’t be able to achieve in regards to cane quantity to the mill.”

While Ortega is aware that production is lower than it could be, he says that the BSCFA has been taking steps to remedy that situation.

Alfredo Ortega Chairman, BSCFA

“We have been working very diligently for the past five years in regards to this program the MS as all of us know the price cut that we had, the preferential market price that disappear and this money that was destined for increasing production and being viable so that we can be in completion with the other countries even though, we have not at the point in time reach to that point where it has been granted to the field directly, we have been working very diligently but there has been a lot of setbacks in regards to the E.U program. Presently, the D.F.C. has launch a program where they pronounce that they have three million dollars that they would invest in a replanting program with a nine percent interest rate, the Association we presented in the month of November to the A.G.M a million dollars for a pilot project in the replanting program and it was voted for but it was also a motion was also brought up that it be put on hold. We called a meeting on the 17th of April, so that farmers can approve so that we can go on with the program but were unable to achieve that meeting at that time, many farmers said because of Palm Sunday were unable to attend the meeting, so we are planning to call this meeting as early as possible may be by mid May, so that we can kick off with this program, we really see that we need to do an intervention in a replanting program so that the yields per acre can increase because presently the problem is the yields per acre in an average form, there are farmers that are doing very good but there are others farmers that are very, very below the average per acre.”

And the issue of replanting isn’t the only one on the table. Ortega says that there are other factors which affect production…factors which they are looking at.

Alfredo Ortega Chairman, BSCFA

“It’s a combine problem that farmers are facing. One is the access to reaching to their canfield, the other one is access of financing because as all of us know that farmers have been pushed only to the commercial banks and the interest in the commercial banks are very killing. It’s true that farmers have already develop a certain source of confidence within the commercial banks but it is very killing for them and also now we have the increase in fuel price as you know once fuel price goes up everything goes up tools goes up, parts goes up and so on. These are things that have created this scenario where we are at this point that the yields are not yielding the amount they suppose per acre and the other issue is that for the past five to six years farmers have been suffering with froghopper problem.”

And with that said, Ortega also threw down the gauntlet to BSI, stating that farmers would see about increasing production, but the factory would need to provide assurances that it would be able to mill the additional cane produced.

Alfredo Ortega Chairman, BSCFA

“Yes we are foreseeing presently with our new C.E.O. that we have, as soon as we have been cleared with the visit of the auditors, we’ll be sitting down as an organization with the staff, heads of department and we’ll develop a three to five year strategic plan to handle all the area that are needed to be handled within the production sector. Being the replanting program, the issue with froghopper, pest control and all of these stuff, but we need to bring this in a strategic plan so that we can have continuous year per year where we will be developing in this program in a short, medium and long term program that we can fulfil but also in this ongoing movement we also need that B.S.I. develop a capacity in regards to processing because they can mill the problem is in the processing of the juice of converted it into sugar so as we move with the production going upward the same way we need that B.S.I. also goes upward with the capacity in processing our sugar cane so, that the farmer have the confidence that whatsoever amount they are investing in the land that they will have that opportunity to deliver that product to B.S.I. and not staying with verses with what happen with the last crop.”

According to Ortega, a special meeting is being organized with cane-farmers at which several important issues will be tabled. The date will be announced when it is finalized.

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-1 #1 Alfredo 2011-05-01 16:16
"Cane Framers Unable To Deliver 1.1 Million Tons Of Cane To The Factory" This is a sad statement and yet true. During the past century there is no other industry that has being more exploited than the sugar industry. Everyone makes money except for the cane farmers. Sugar cane is bad investment for the cane farmers. I would suggest to the cane farmers to stay out of that business and do something else. Most of the famers have to work for free so that BSI and the government make a profit. If the farmers cannot meet the demand the ones to be blamed is BSI and the Government. That my story and I am sticking to it. Thanks

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