BSIs two turbines are up and running. That news was circulated via a press release sent out a couple days ago by the factory. With operations back to normal, we thought it would be a good time to drop in at BSI for a routine update on the industry which is the lifeblood of the north. Today we spoke to Ed Zetina, the Manager of Research and Cane Farmer Relations. He is the man in charge of all the agriculture operations of BSI.

edEduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“The first turbine which was classified as turbine “ A” came back about four weeks ago and that turbine was enough to supply the power that the factory needed to start operations normally and that happens about four weeks ago. The second turbine which was classified as turbine “B” stayed back because it needed more repairs and came and was set up about two weeks ago and that turbine now is back in operation and is working well and everything is back to normal.”

Zetina confirmed that the reports of a stellar crop are all true, and took the opportunity to commend farmers for the cane they are bringing to the factory.

Eduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“We are very encourage by what we see, we always know that the quality of the material that we grow in Belize is very good and it was a question of handling the material to when it gets to the factory to extract the very best possible sugar out of it. Now we see what the material is really like very good quality material coming in at this time in fact when I look at the figures this week it is one of the best weeks in term of cane quality that we have seen for this crop it is even better from what we have seen two weeks ago when we thought it was very good so we have seen very good quality material. We encourage farmers to continue the process of ensuring that the cane delivered to the mill is of the best quality and if that happens then I am certain that we are going to have a good crop with respect of cane quality.”

But with the good news came a bit of not so good news. According to Zetina, farmers are producing less cane, which means that BSI is not operating to capacity…which means that the factory is basically running to stand still.

Eduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“Cane production has been on the decline year after year if you consider that some thirty years ago we were producing more cane than what we are producing now it says the story. We have been on the decline as I said for the last five year except for last year when it was more a year that was difficult but the amount of cane that was delivered last year had a lot of extraneous material and particularly mud that was weigh in as cane which is not really cane, but when we look at the trend say five years ago there is declining trend in production and so we are concern that the trend is not been rested and we need to arrested if we are to take advantage of the milling capacity that we have. The factory have the capacity to mill about one point three million tonnes of cane that‘s the install capacity. The last number we got from the Sugar Cane Production committee who is responsible for providing to the industry the amount of cane the number was not more than one million fifty thousand tonnes which is what we at B.S.I. have used in our estimates, it is likely that it would be more than one million fifty thousand tonnes , therefore we have a shortage of about two hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of cane or almost twenty five percent more cane if required than what the mill is doing at this time. We would like to see that quantity increase to one point three million tonnes; we would like to see programmes that would enhance that quantity, we talk about the E.U money that is available for that purpose to increase cane quantity, there is possibility of the Fair Trade funds that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association are handling to improve cane quantity, but essentially what we would like to see is a vigorous cane replanting programme that is going to l replace all those cane field to be able to bring up production.”

But with that said, and with the hope that the matter will be addressed by stakeholders on the ground sooner rather than later, Zetina again pointed out the exceptional quality of cane which is being brought to the factory.

Eduardo Zetina Manager, Research & Cane Farmer Relations

“The quality, I will again repeat, it is excellent, it is very good, very encouraging there are several factors that played into it that converged to make it a good year, weather condition have been very dry it assist in maturing cane in bringing cane with less mud, the farmers I am sure are making a tremendous effort to improve harvest condition and all that have converged to make this a really very good year in terms of quality.”

Later in our newscast well talk to Zetina about exporting sugar to the US an opportunity that weve had for years but never utilized to potential.

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