When BSI and the three associations signed the commercial agreement back in January, all parties, along with the government, agreed to engage in the development of a Strategic Development Plan to move the sugar industry forward. The discussions toward this have already begun and today BSI/ASR launched its contribution to the plan. The company’s contribution was packaged into a booklet titled “Transforming Sugar Production in Belize into a Modern, Sustainable, Green Model, Contributing to Jobs, Growth and Energy Security”. The goal of the overall plan is to ensure the sugar industry’s sustainability in the global market that is becoming more challenging. Public Relations Representative for ASR, Mac McLachlan and ASR President Celestino Ruiz spoke more about the suggested activities and recommendations that have been incorporated in the booklet.
Mac McLachlan– ASR Public Relations Rep
“We decided that this was an appropriate action and appropriate time to do this just as the Strategic Development Plant meetings are taking place just to try and inform from our perspectives where the challenges lie.One of the main reasons for having a Strategic Development Plan is to sequence the activities that need to take place. In a nutshell this means improving the productivity of the sugar cane area in Belize…that means improving the yields and the quality of that sugar cane. We have, I understand, about seventy-five thousand acres of land at the moment, and that land yields fairly low yields of sugar. If we are to expand the amount of cane produced one way to do that is to improve the productivity of that land. The second part of this looks at the sort of regulatory environment that would be necessary, and also the sort of investment climate in which both the sugar farmers and also the mill are working at the moment, and how that needs to be improved in order to take things forward. And the third segment looks at the other key elements of this equation which is increasing the capacity of the power plant at Belcogen and the mill at Tower Hill and also the logistics arrangements for taking sugar from the factory to the ship. So all of this is inter-related…that’s why we need one strategic development plan that all of the stakeholders to that plan are prepared to sign and committed to undertake their own respective roles and responsibilities within it.”
Celestino Ruiz– ASR
“Al fin del día esta es nuestra contribución a la industria son ideas algunas vamos a estar de acuerdo y algunas vamos a tener que mejorar y algunas no vamos a tener todas las soluciones hemos identificado los problemas y las cosas que tenemos que hacer para crecer y mejorar y tener un industria competitiva a un nivel mundial al fin del día es eso. Como usted acaba de decir vamos a tener una copia en español para aquellos que hablan el español tengan tiempo de leerlo entenderlo y estudiarlo eso es nuestra contribución y esperemos que la industria y todos los participantes puedan contribuir al plan.”
In a press release, the company states that the document is intended to stimulate consideration of what the industry needs to become sustainable and what type of investment climate will be required to achieve this. A copy of the document can be viewed online at www.sugarindustryofbelize.com. Interested persons can also obtain hard copies at the factory offices.
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