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Se estudian medidas para contrarrestar la escasez de azúcar
Fecha de publicación:07/07/2011
País: Belice

Belizeans continue to complain about a shortage of sugar in some parts of the country. While Belize Sugar Industries Limited continues to maintain that it is producing enough sugar to meet the demands of the local market, the plantation white sugar produced at Tower Hill is making it across the western and northern borders. That combined with a shortfall in production this year is putting a squeeze on the local market availability of sugar. Damian Gough is the Marketing Officer for BSI.

Damian Gough – Marketing Officer, BSI
“The industry had initially projected to produce about 1.1 million tons of cane and on June 24th when the crop ended we had only milled a total 843,000 ;so you are looking at over a quarter million tons of cane that was not received this year for one reason or another and that quarter million tons of cane translates to another 20 to 25,000 tons of sugar that we weren’t able to make this year. A portion of that sugar would have been sugar that we would have made for sale on the local market and since we didn’t get the cane to do it we were faced with a situation where indeed we weren’t able to produce the amount of sugar that we had projected, but since then we have taken measures to correct that as I believe has been raised by a colleague of mine.”

Patrick Jones - Reporter
Mr. Gough if we know that the sugar is making its way across the border both in the west and north, why not formulate a trade agreement where we can legitimately get our sugar across the border?

Damian Gough – Marketing Officer, BSI
“Attempts to do so have been undertaken before, in the past as recently as three or four years ago. In the case of Guatemala, the Guatemalan sugar producers have objected vehemently to Belize’s sugar going over there on the basis that it doesn’t meet the quality specifications that their sugar requires. Specifically it has to do with an issue of Vitamin A. However as is obviously the case the consumers and buyers of sugar in say Peten for example could care less about the sugar not having enough Vitamin A or having too much Vitamin A because the sugar is still making its way into Peten. In the case of Peten they usually get their sugar from the interior of Guatemala and it is far cheaper and easier for them to get the sugar out of Belize than to have to wait for sugar to come to them from the interior of Guatemala City. That is the reason we have not been able to formalize a specific trade agreement for example with Guatemala. In the case of Mexico the same thing applies. Mexico is known as an exporter of sugar, it claims that it has sufficient sugar to satisfy the entire Mexican national market for sugar; they have factories as near as Obregon that service the South-eastern part of Mexico and they claim they have an overstock and supply however it is the same scenario; it is far easier and cheaper to get sugar perhaps out of Belize into say La Union and outskirts of Chetumal and so on as it would be to have to wait for sugar to come all the way down from Merida and Obregon to service the market. While both countries have said they aren’t interested in formalizing sugar trade agreement the fact of the matter still seems to be that there is a void in those markets and Belizean sugar has been able to find a home for it simply because the price that we sell the sugar for here, the controlled price is extremely lower than what we would face in Guatemala and Mexico.”

Gough says that a multi agency approach to tackling the problem of sugar shortage is being spearheaded by BSI and the Ministry of Agriculture to alleviate the situation and avoid a crisis situation.

Damian Gough – Marketing Officer, BSI
“Presently efforts are being undertaken between the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Agriculture, BSI, the Cane Farmers Association whereby we have been looking at trying to address the issue of distribution through some monitoring of the wholesale distributors and so on but additionally BSI had undertaken to try to reprocess some of the export sugar that we would have normally sent out. We have been reprocessing some of that sugar in the week and a half period now since the crop has ended and we will be making additional sugar and have already made some additional sugar to try to cater to the Belize market need. We estimate the Belizean market need to be around 13,500 tons of white sugar. When the crop ended we had only produced about 10,500 tons of that and since then we have been reprocessing sugar to the tune of another 3,000 tons to be able to pick up that demand. At present we have about 6,000 tons of sugar in our stock and will be producing a bit more up until the weekend. We estimate by our records that the monthly consumption of sugar is in the neighbourhood of around 1,000 tons per month and so if we have 6,000 tons or closer to 7,000 tons of sugar in storage to last us for the remainder of the year we should be able to meet the needs of the market that way. What it will require as I said effective management and managing of the distribution system and it will also require closer partnership and collaboration between agencies like Customs, the Bureau of Standards, the Supplies Control board as well as BSI and Ministry of Agriculture officials.”

Patrick Jones - Reporter
So you wouldn’t recommend that people start stocking up on sugar?

Damian Gough – Marketing Officer, BSI
“No I wouldn’t think it is necessary. As a precaution people can always try to make sure they keep an extra couple pounds set aside, we are going into the hurricane season; that could be a reason for stocking up a bit of sugar. In terms of supplies to the market we are estimating that based on the recent efforts that we have undertaken and the sugar that we have produced since the crop ended that we should be able to adequately supply the market.”

The Belize Bureau of Standards has issued a statement warning businesses that the limiting or withholding of sugar is a violation of the Supplies Control laws. If anyone is found in breach of the regulation they are liable for a fine of a thousand dollars or imprisonment for up to six months. Anyone who suspects that a particular business establishment is withholding sugar from them, you are asked to call the Supplies Control Unit at telephone number: 822-0446.

Palabras clave: azúcar, mercados locales, Belice
Publicado por: LoveFM