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A tractor hauls loads of sugar cane in Belize. (File photo)

Belize to lose a quarter of sugar revenue to drought

A tractor hauls loads of sugar cane in Belize. (File photo)

Belize will lose a quarter of its projected income from sugar production this year due to drought.

Sugar cane production will fall by 25 per cent in the current season due to drought.

The Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) has revised estimates for sugarcane production downwards to one million tonnes, from the initial 1.3 million tonnes. The 300 thousand tonne difference accounts for 25 per cent of the previous projection and will result in a similar drop in the production of its by-product, sugar.

BSI manager, Cane Farmers Relations, Olivia Avilez said “So in terms of impact we are looking at a thirty per cent decrease throughout, so a thirty per cent decrease in cane, thirty per cent decrease in sugar production income and already that is having an impact on the cane price that we issued to cane farmers in early November.  So definitely it trickles down right to the tacos vendor,” she said on a televised programme there, according to the Caribbean Media Corporation.

“So any drop in production, any drop in the amount of sugar production exported and sold is impacted and trickles down right down to the tacos vendor on the street corner.”

– BSI manager, Cane Farmers Relations, Olivia Avilez

Avilez also shared that the delayed start of the current sugar crop season does not yet have a new date, but one will be discussed at a meeting come January 3, 2020.

“On November 20th we met with the stakeholders, especially the farming association to discuss a possible crop start date and during that meeting we were able to determine really that we were actually unable to start a crop in the usual time that we start which is usually the first or the second week in December.”

Sugar production is one of Belize’s primary revenue earners.

Sugar is one of the mainstays of the Belize economy, a fact reinforced by Avilez.

“The importance of the sugar industry, as you know, is one of the major industries in Belize and in the north, 15 per cent of the population depends on sugar. So any drop in production, any drop in the amount of sugar production exported and sold is impacted and trickles down right down to the tacos vendor on the street corner.”