By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Cane farms in Belize need to produce more cane per acre to be able to cope with tbhe projected falling earnings of 2017, the Belize Sugar Industries explained in its latest publication.
The report entitled, “Transforming Sugar Production in Belize into a Modern, Sustainable, Green Model Contributing to Jobs, Growth and Energy Security”, outlined nine recommendations to progress the sugar industry, listing increased production as an area of priority.
According to BSI’s data, Belize’s sugarcane yield per acre ranks among the lowest in the world, a reality which can cost the country millions of dollars in lost revenue once the European Union discontinues giving preferential prices for sugar in 2017.
The end of the preferential prices will result in earnings from the sale of sugar to decrease by some 25-35 percent, representing losses in excess of $10 million.
The data shows that Belize only produces 17 tons of cane per acre, while Mexico produces closer to 30 tons. Guatemala, which has the largest production in the region, produces some 41 tons per acre.
“Improving yields through better farming practices would play a major role in improving competitiveness,” BSI emphasized.
The report also highlighted areas such as: a new long term commercial agreement, increased access to affordable credit for farmers, improved physical infrastructure, and regulatory reform as areas that need to be addressed with urgency, to secure a sustainable future for the industry, which accounts for around fice percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).