Sugar cane production in Belize will begin on January 15 following a delayed start due to a prolonged period of drought.
The start date was announced by the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) after a meeting with stakeholders yesterday.
Despite the relatively news of a scheduled date, prospects for the season are glum with production revised downwards from 1.3 million tonnes to one million tonne. The 25 per cent revision will result in a similar decline in the production of sugar, the BSI said in December.
“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.”– BSI manager for Cane Farmers relations, Olivia Avilez
Additionally, BSI manager for Cane Farmers relations, Olivia Avilez, said the delayed start will also have an impact on the quality of the sugar cane produced.
Avilez said, “The entire industry is under an impact of severe drought and stakeholders had to make a decision to start a little bit later because we didn’t have sufficient cane that would be ready or of good quality to start the crop season.”
Furthermore, she said “The canes that were harvested last year in December and early January are definitely severely impacted by the drought and here is where the farmers will need to cut those fields out, maintain it, do their maintenance; fertilize it, do the controls and allow that to grow and go through its normal cycle for the following year.”
Last December, speaking to the fortunes of this season’s crop, Avilez said much of the nation’s population depends on the industry. “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.”