The Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute, SIRDI today concluded a three day workshop on analysis of financial statements and financial reasons: Budgets, data collection, management and payment plan. The workshop was held specifically for cane farmers and presented in three sessions. We stopped by the sessions this morning to learn more about the initiative.


Screen_Shot_2013-12-05_at_8.14.36_PMDalila Ical – Reporting

 

This week’s three day training is the last module of a three year program that the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute, SIRDI, has been working on with sugar cane farmers from both the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. Approximately one hundred farmers enrolled in this week’s sessions which focused on finance administration and record keeping.

 

One group of farmers at the SIRDI conference room looked at pre-harvesting and harvesting, a key step in the production says Field Supervisor Gabriel Flores. He adds that it has a lot to do with a farmer knowing if he or she is making any profit.

 

Gabriel Flores – Field Supervisor, SIRDI


“Farmers need to know that before they harvest their cane they need to know if the cane is mature enough to be harvested, usually farmers tend to just cut the cane when it started last year but now we want to train hem so that they can co an analysis on their cane by using meters to find out the maturity index of the fields of the can and that is the best way because in that way they are harvesting the cane that has the most sugar because at the end of the day farmers at paid by the sugar and not only by the tonnes so they need to know what is the maturity of that cane before they harvest.”

 

The first module presented to farmers was on land preparation and the second was on planting and field maintenance. With this weeks’ workshop, the hope is to ultimately increase farmers’ yields and the quality of their product.

 

Gabriel Flores – Field Supervisor, SIRDI


“Before farmers’ average yield is 18 tonnes per acre maybe some 20 but in fact some would be less, but now with this training we expect farmers not to get less than 35 tonnes in plan cane and when it comes to platoon not less than 25 tonnes so it a lot of income they can get by following this practise that we are training them, teaching them.”

 

Dalila Ical – Reporter

 

“How receptive are the farmers been to this new information and these new practises?’

 

Gabriel Flores – Field Supervisor, SIRDI

 

“They are very interested into it this morning here the farmers were very interested in knowing especially when it comes to early varieties they want to know more about it and they want to know where they can get it because the early varieties are the cane that can improve the quality because right now farmers harvest any cane at the beginning of the crop but then are varieties that can be harvested at the beginning of the crop that has high quality of sugar and those are the cane that farmers should plant to harvest earlier. At the end of the day we want the farmers to take a map home and this map would help the farmers to keep record of their fields because each parcel has a number and has the acreage so that they can keep track of how many cane they harvest on each parcel, what is the maturity index of each field, the yield and all the activity they do on the field, fertilization and herbicide they can keep record of each field.”

 

This is the first time farmers will be working with maps. At the same time, a second group of farmers were at the LICU Conference Room were focusing on the financial management side of things. The facilitator is Hendry Quesada-Pineda.

 

Henry Quesada-Pineda – Facilitator


“We are helping the farmers in trying to identify simple ways of how they would know how much they spend, what is their profit and how much they have so, so we use different financial management techniques in a very simple way so they can really understand what I the productivity, what are the production cost and we hope that all these training along with all the work SIRDI is doing with them they can integrate that so as to improve their productivity hopefully that will help to improve their businesses  and create more jobs and help to economic development of Belize.”

 

Dalila Ical – Reporter

 

“What has been basically the feedback from the farmers, I am assuming that for them some of this is new?’

 

Henry Quesada-Pineda – Facilitator

 

“Absolutely, they are very smart people, they have been in business for a long time and some of this they are second or third generation I mean they business to know what they are doing, however, they haven’t done their financial management process in a systematic way and basically they use their memory on trying to figure it our cost and income, for them the way we are doing it, it is new but they can connect with the reality and that is the beasty we are not telling them anything that they didn’t know before we are just trying to help in expedite the process and to organize better the process.”

 

A third group of farmers were at the Gala Lounge learning more on budgeting and record keeping. Saul Osorio, Field Officer told us more about this session.

 

Saul Osorio – Field Officer, SIRDI


“This group is looking at budgeting and record keeping, we have the participation of Belize Bank that is collaborating with us with SIRDI and giving training to farmers on how they can do their budgeting for the year and how to keep records of their activities in their cane fields and in their daily lives.”

 

Dalila Ical – Reporter

 

“Why would this particular aspect of budgeting and record keeping particularly important for SIRDI to provide the farmers?”

 

Saul Osorio – Field Officer, SIRDI

 

“Ok, it is important because we know that farmers yes they do some record keeping and some budgeting but like some of them say today they did it in their minds, they know what they want, they know what they spent but they don’t have it on writing and when we asked them or someone ask them what was your expense of last year they say I don’t remember, and that’s why it is important.”

 

Seventeen sugar cane farmers took part in this record keeping session today. All of SIRDI’s training sessions concluded today.

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