Sugarcane is cultivated in the northern districts of Orange Walk and Corozal by over 5,300 cane farmers on approximately 23,100 to 26,300 hectares of land.5 Both the Orange Walk and Corozal Cane Farmers Association supply the Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI), the sole processor of sugar in Belize, with sugarcane.
Recently, the Sugarcane industry has begun making preparations to deal with potential challenges that may arise in 2017 as a result of the loss of the guarantee market agreement with the European Union.
Source: Channel 7 News
The start of the 2014/2015 sugarcane harvest was delayed by two months due to disagreements between farmers and the processor, Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI). After the belated signing of a new commercial agreement, the harvest commenced on 26 January, with deliveries continuing up to the second week of July due to an unusually long dry season. The impact of the late start was exacerbated by a 3.5% reduction in the average daily grinding rate (6,949 long tons for the 2014/2015 crop versus 7,198 long tons for the 2013/2014 crop).
This resulted in a 2.3% decline in sugarcane deliveries to 1,167,427 long tons with an estimated 316,000 long tons of stand-over sugarcane being left in the field at the close of the season, double the amount that was left at the end of the previous crop. Compensating somewhat for the processing volume, the average price paid to farmers increased by 12.4% to $75.89 per long ton. This reflected a marked improvement in the cane/sugar outturn, reduced international freight rates (sugar is priced on a cost, insurance and freight basis) and a 2.3% uptick in the average export price as sales to the US market recommended.
Prices for sugar exports to the European Union fell from €496.80 to €448.80/metric ton, specifically Bz$1,103/ton. The final price for the 2009/10 crop is to receive the full effect of the 16.5% EU price decrease of €335.40/metric ton. Gough underscored that the reduction in prices for the 2008/09 crop was cushioned by a significant reduction in freight charges (from US$135/ton in 2007/08 to US$78/ton in 2008/09 crop year). In addition, exchange rate gains from the Euro average unit price negotiated also mitigated the effect of the reduction in prices.7
Belize exported all of its sugar for the 2008/09 crop to the EU market under the Sugar Protocol of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. No sugar was exported under the Complimentary Quality regime. Other export markets are CARICOM and the United States.
The Sugarcane production for 2015/2016 is forecasted to increase slightly as the crop year returns to its customary start in November/December.