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caneAt the beginning of the 2010/2011 crop season on December 15th it was estimated that 1.1 million tons of cane would be delivered to the factory producing 110 thousand tons of sugar. Unlike last year, this year the factory had few hiccups and cane farmers delivered pure quality cane - in fact there was even a record breaker in the TCTS as it once stood at 7.5%. All indications were that the 2010/2011 crop season would be an excellent one. But with the rainy season upon us and crop season far from over will another tune be played and will the quota of 1.1 million tons of cane be met? Thats what we asked both the factory and the farmers today.

Carmelita Perez- Reporting

Up to yesterday the Belize Sugar Industry Limited had milled 811 thousand tons of cane producing 95,600 tons of sugar. At the beginning of the crop season it was estimated that 1.1 million tons of cane would be delivered to the factory producing 110 thousand tons of sugar. But from all indications this year the estimated amount in both cane and sugar won’t be met.

goofDamian Gough- Marketing Director BSI

“Recent estimates to us coming out of the Sugar Cane Production Committee based on information received from the BSCFA is that there is only about 850,000 tons of cane that is available for delivery.”

Alfredo Ortega- Chairman BSCFA, COM

“Al trascurso del tiempo de la cosecha no hemos viendo dado cuenta que las pérdidas que el cañero está sufriendo ah aumentado drásticamente especialmente esa caña que quedo del año pasado que no se cosecharon se perdió la mayoría por ratón y Frog Hopper. La zafra extendida del año pasado también afectó porque mucho de las canas no crecieron y mucho que se cosecho durante las lluvias se tañaron.”

With the rainy season upon us and the crop season still not finished the effects are already being felt. Up to Sunday the ton of cane per ton of sugar stood at 8.34%. Yesterday that number changed drastically when the TCTS increased to 10.57%.

Damian Gough- Marketing Director BSI

“We have already started to see the impact of it the amount of filter cake that comes out had been averaging around 4.4 or 4.5 and it has increased now to 10.6 so we are seeing an impact in regards to the rain and the amount of mud coming in and yes that has an impact on quality. We are however still seeing good quality coming in where we are getting juice purity to 83 almost to 84%.”

BSI hopes to increase the production of sugar by milling some 70 to 80 thousand tons of cane that was harvested at the end of last year’s crop season. But according to Chairman of the BSCFA Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega that’s easier said than done.

Alfredo Ortega- Chairman BSCFA, COM

“Tenemos que ver el lado económico de ello y como asociación tenemos que ver adonde nos va a levar porque no queremos que al final del día por querer entregar este poquito de cana dentro de una cantidad de agua vayamos a perder todo el esfuerzo que se ah hecho a lo largo de la zafra. Vamos estar observando el tiempo y vamos a tener una junta de emergencia con BSI y allí vamos a tomar una decisión como asociación cuales son los parámetros que vamos a tomar de aquí en adelante dado a la situación del tiempo porque si ay una cantidad de cana que esta sazón que no es de la cantidad que se cosecharon al final de la zafar.”

Having to harvest their cane during the rainy season spells trouble for cane farmers and despite the fact that the BSCFA admits that they will fall short of the estimated 1.1 million tons of cane, they believe if it were not for the three weeks shutdown of BSI the crop season would have been closed already.

Alfredo Ortega- Chairman BSCFA, COM

“En realidad viendo la cantidad de producción que tenemos no íbamos a legar a la meta pero ya hubiésemos terminado la zafra antes de que cayera las lluvias. Hoy estamos viendo el efecto que ya cayó la lluvia aun que los cañeros están luchado tratar de reducir la cantidad de caña quemada, tratar de amontonar la caña siempre varios están haciendo el esfuerzo pero siempre está viendo un aumento de lodo que se está entregando y el TCT’s está haciendo afectado ya hemos brincado de 7.75 ah 10.21 por semana y eso no está bueno porque cada día estamos perdiendo entregando esta calidad de cana. Realmente si no hubiese habido esa parada y hubiésemos terminado la zafra. Para nosotros como industria ocho cientos mil toneladas de caña no nos debería llegar hasta este tiempo ya hubiésemos terminado.”

Damian Gough- Marketing Director BSI

“There is no denying the fact that the three week delay that we had earlier in the crop may have contributed to the fact that we now have to extend or run into the rainy season however what is the undeniable reality is that had we not had that shutdown the crop would have been finished already but we still would not have released the amount of cane and sugar that we were hoping to realize.”

But the bottom line is that even with the delivery of 70 to 80 thousand tons of cane more, the estimated 1.1 million tons of cane won’t be met. Both parties agree however, that despite the shortfall the 2010/2011 crop season is still going to be a successful one.

Damian Gough- Marketing Director BSI

“We here at the mill have proven that we can mill upwards of 6000 tons of cane on a daily basis and ewe have has some success in diversifying some of our production, we have had success with regards to the variety of sugars that we can make and up until say a couple of weeks ago we were well ahead of the pace compared to last year because we had made more sugar.”

Alfredo Ortega- Chairman BSCFA, COM

“Este ano nos sirvió para ver cual realmente eran los problemas que teníamos, los efectos que teníamos. Hoy con orgullo podemos decir nuestro esfuerzo valió la pena. Es cierto que no todos los cañeros pusieron su esfuerzo pero la mayoría lo hizo y de eso estoy orgulloso.”

As Ortega mentioned, a meeting is scheduled to take place between BSI and the BSCFA tomorrow.

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