By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Despite the two-month delay for the start for the 2013-2014 sugar cane crops, the cane industry is preparing to either meet or exceed its 1.2 million ton quota.
According to John Gillett, factory manager for Belize Sugar Industries Limited, the factory milled over 1,068,000 tons of cane this week, producing some 111,000 tons of sugar. Gillett says that the factory and farmers can realise even more than this, depending on the weather.
“We know that there is still an amount of cane out there, and if the weather holds up we want to do our best to harvest most of it. If we can harvest most of that cane our production could be well in excess of 120,000 tons of sugar.” Gillett told the Reporter this week.
Gillett emphasized that BSI’s technological investments have been a major factor in the level of sugar production. He explained that by installing new evaporators the factory did not have to close every two weeks to clean them, allowing for continuous production while the evaporators are being serviced. “Last year we lost 268 hours on weekend cleaning, this year we only lost 74,” Gillett highlighted.
The overall production at the factory has improved significantly from last year, increasing from 6150 tons per day to 7300 tons per day. The tons cane-tons sugar milling rate is also at 9.61, which means that more of the cane is being converted to sugar.
When compared to last year’s production the factory is about 100,000 tons or two weeks ahead. The mill has also produced ample sugar to satisfy domestic consumption.