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Its official the sugar cane season comes to a close this Friday. With heavy rains already here, there doesnt seem to be much choice, really, although expectations were that the season would have gone a little longer to allow for the delivery of more cane to the factory. But at this point thats neither here nor there, as the end of season is now a done deal, agreed to by all parties involved.

frdAlfredo Ortega BSCFA

“We had a meeting yesterday with B.S.I and we and also members of SICB and the Chairman of the SCPC and we reached into an agreement that we will be closing crop no later than Friday at 6:00pm.”

And like we mentioned, with the rains already here and much more forecast, there wasnt much choice, at least for the cane-farmers. But even with that said, that doesnt mean that every stakeholder is happy about the move.

Alfredo Ortega BSCFA

“Since the beginning of June we have had a substantial amount of rainfall and it is costing cane farmers a substantial amount increase in fuel and other economies in the harvesting system plus the TCT’s is going above normal yesterday we had 12.6 and we really don’t want to lose what we have already sacrificed ourselves during the crop. Those are the main reasons that made us make the decision to bring the crop to an end the latest Friday.”

Eduardo Zetina BSI

“Looking back and I am sure you will recall when we started crop in December we had signed a MOU with the various stakeholders with the objective of achieving a 110 thousand tons of sugar with 1.1 million tons of cane we are obviously disappointed that we did not get the 1.1 million tons of cane and we are disappointed that we don’t have the volume of cane that will take us to at least the 105 thousand tons of sugar. Having said that I think the crop has been successful from the point of cane quality it has been a tremendous feeling that we can improve cane quality and that is a good thing. We expected more even though crop will close at 6:00pm on Friday we would have wanted to make at least 100 thousand tons of sugar we are very close the last numbers I saw were at 97,638 tons so we wanted to the 3,700 tons more. We are hoping that weather conditions will be on our side to allow for this to happen if not it closes on Friday.”

Alfredo Ortega BSCFA

“Last crop we had an extended crop we went way to the endings of August we stayed with about 250 tons of cane that was mature that was ready for harvest last year and was not harvested. We also had the drought that took us way and during the crop we had some rat problems with those fields that stayed as stand over, we had the three weeks stoppage because of the turbines of B.S.I and then we had some more stoppages where we had to reschedule the delivers per division because of problems that B.S.I was facing on a day to day basis in regards to cane being piled up under the gantries. Those are things that took us in a series of problems during the crop but most of all it was the extended crop that we had and the amount of cane that we stayed with and the infestation of rat and the frog hopper problem that we faced.”

Late last year, the very fate of the industry was in question, and since then it has been a fairly turbulent time for all stakeholders. Today we asked the representatives of both the farmers and the factory to play teacher and give both entities a grade.

edwardoEduardo Zetina BSI

“Well like any grade we have different subjects in terms of quality it is an A grade I think the farmers put in a lot of effort to put in quality cane even now that things are tough farmers are making the effort to bring in quality cane. The industry however is not only about quality, it is also about production how much cane the farmers have provided to B.S.I is deep and we would like to see more cane to ensure that the industry is on a better footing and we are hoping that it happens next crop. When it comes to B.S.I in my opinion I think B.S.I has tried its best and I say this very objectively because when we look around us at what success has occurred among industries that have put in co-generation plants they are taking four sometimes up to five crops to stabilise the entire grinding regulations and we are only into our second year. We had our problems but I can tell you we are back on track and we expect that to continue. Overall I think B.S.I has had its problems it is not a factory issue which is important to point out instead it is a power generation issue but we are certain that it will be overcome. Looking at B.S.I I would say B is in order.”

Alfredo Ortega BSCFA

“The numbers show the efforts that the farmers have done, we presently have a TCT’S of 8.45 and before the rain start we were 8.33 but because of the rain the TCT’s has increased. But what I can say is that the farmers have done well I think they have done 90% of what was required and I think B.S.I has done there part also we cannot regret because it is something that we need to work together and I think B.S.I has achieved 75% of their side also in this harvesting season.”

And we also asked both representatives to tell us, in a nutshell, what they would like improved when the next crop season rolls around.

Alfredo Ortega BSCFA

“In the side of the farmers I think that production went down low but not so very low because as you know we had some losses during those three weeks that operations was ceased because of the turbine problem I do believe that there are many farmers that are doing an effort to plant new cane but because of the drought that we had many farmers were unable to harvest the cane. What we need to do as an association we need to set in place a production or replanting scheme that will give the opportunity all across the production sector giving an opportunity to all farmers to jump into this program. I think DFC has already started a program it is with its hiccups also but there are things that we need to tie together so that we can have at least a 20% plant cane for every year from now on forward. In the other hand I think B.S.I needs to increase their system of converting the juice into sugar that is an area where their capacity is very low, they have a high grinding capacity but when it comes to the juice there is where they have a problem. Those are areas where I believe B.S.I needs to tackle so that we can have a crop during the summer maybe from December to not more than the month of May.”

Eduardo Zetina BSI

“From the farmer’s side I would like to see them continue with the notion that quality is extremely important. We would like to see more production, the ability of farmers to get technical assistance to get relatively cheap finance for them to do a replanting program and to improve productivity. On the side of B.S.I I think what we would like to see is a stable crop without major break downs and we are hoping that come next crop that would be possible. In addition to that we would also want to see as best as possible that we have a continuous daily operation instead of having breakages and with that I am certain that we will be able to have a great crop next year.”

According to Zetina, the increasing TCTS as the heavy rains affect cane delivered is expected as the end of crop approaches, and by their measure, with the exception of decreased productivity, this season has still been a successful one.

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