The 2016-2017 sugar cane crop season officially closed on Friday after twenty eight weeks. Today the Belize Sugar Industries Limited issued official figures which show that the industry set a new record for sugar production. This historic, banner year for sugar production generated 144,086 metric tons of sugar surpassing the high point of 141,998 metric tons established in 2015.
When compared with last year’s figures which included 203 crop days, this year’s sugar production of 208 crop days showed an increase of 10, 239 metric tons even though the tons of cane milled decreased by 23, 199 metric tons from 1,313,255 to 1,290,056 metric tons. This increase in sugar production from less cane was due to good cane quality, improved factory performance due to strategic investments by the ASR Group since 2012 and good weather for most of the crop, according to BSI.
In terms of cane quality, the factory saw an increase from 11.84 to 12.67 percent. An increase was also seen in the mill performance which climbed from 96.16 percent to 98.92 percent. And as it relates to the overall factory performance an increase of 2 percent was noted during this crop season as compared to last going from 84.7% to 86.77%.
The factory notes however, that this new record comes as sugar prices continue to fall and the industry braces to meet the immediate challenges due to the changes in preferential access to the EU sugar market in October of this year. New strategies in the industry to meet the anticipated adverse developments and ensure long-term viability includes a mechanical harvesting project, a proposed Direct Consumption Sugar (DCS) expansion project during the off crop coupled with efforts to open new markets in the Caribbean region.