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The 2013/2014 Sugar Crop Season went into full effect today as the harvest and delivery season officially kicked off after a 60 days delay. It was a much anticipated day for all stakeholders in the Sugar Industry who patiently waited for the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association to iron out their problems when it came to the negotiations for payment of bagasse. With that issue now forming a part of the past, at least for now, the crop is now being mobilized full speed ahead. Our news team was on hand this morning for the opening of the delivery gates. Reporter Maria Novelo and Video Journalist Jesus Melgar followed the story and filed this report.


Screen_Shot_2014-01-24_at_9.02.21_PMMaria Novelo – Reporting

After close to two months of delay, at 10:00 this morning, the delivery gates to the sugar factory was opened which signaled the official start of the 2014 Sugar Crop Season. As early as 6:00am, cane farmers, with their harvest in tow, lined the factory road corridor to delivery their cane. Vice Chairman of the BSCFA, Alfredo Ortega, says the San Narciso branch in the Corozal division was first to deliver at the first hour.

Alfredo Ortega - Vice Chairman of the BSCFA

“You see the quality of cane that they are bringing in and the cleanliness of the cane, I really applaud the farmers in coming through this effort even though with the weather we are experiencing so I am confident that we will be working together in maintaining a good quality of cane deliver to the mill.”

Despite the downpour, farmers were happy to finally delivery their harvest, but they all had varied opinions on the sugar roads which are currently in extreme deplorable conditions.

Cane Farmer

“Salir con máquinas es un problema pero con esta lluvia, Sali bien con este viiaje pero el segundo quien sabe.”


Cane Farmer

“Las condiciones del camino están terribles pero hay quien pueden jalar como yo, a pesar de las lluvias ayer pudimos cargar pero primero diosito, estoy preocupados por los otros compañeros porque yo si voy a poder sacar la caña.”


1557207_10152200504636350_1374425494_oMaria Novelo - Reporter

“How hard was it to take out your cane today?”

Cane Farmer

“Very hard and the road was very destroyed but up to now like 50% of the roads are complete and this will more or less affect my production.”

Chairman of the Sugar Cane Production Committee, Jose Novelo, says the season got off on a pleasant note and is optimistic that the farmers will meet the expected yearly quota.

Jose Novelo-Chairman, Sugar Cane Production Committee

“It has started pretty well and I am impressed with the quality of the cane that is coming from the cane fields the cane as you can obviously see is very clean despite the fact that it is still raining so to me it is a demonstration that the farmers are conscious about quality and that they want to maintain a good quality program and that is very good for the industry and speaks very well about the farmers.”

Maria Novelo – Reporter

“What will you expect the production will be for this crops season, will you meet the 1.2 million tonnes?”

Jose Novelo-Chairman, Sugar Cane Production Committee

“I would want to think that if the mill could grind more than 7500 tons per day and if the farmers are able to meet those daily quotas, that we will surpass the one million so I am optimistic that we will be able to do at least a million and weather permitting let say towards the end of May and June we are not experiencing a lot of rains we will indeed be able to mill the 1.2. We are expecting in the vicinity of 5000 regardless of the weather conditions so we are still optimistic that the cane will arrive as you can appreciate it is coming from Corozal, we will obviously find out whether Orange Walk will be able to live up to its commitments and it was raining in Orange Walk from yesterday so that might impact on the amount of cane that the Oragne Walk farmers will bring but certainly we think that Corozal farmers will live up to its commitment.”

With a one hundred and twenty day crop on hand, cane farmers are expected to deliver one point two million tons of sugar cane to the factory which has a milling capacity of 7,500 tons per day. Based on these numbers it is believed that not all the available cane will be received by the factory at the end of the crop season. This in turn will translate to a huge loss for both the miller and producer.

The Orange Walk division will deliver their harvest to the mill at 10:00 tonight. The factory is expected to receive 6000 tons of cane tomorrow, 6,600 tons on Sunday and 7,000 tons on Monday.

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