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Cane Sugar On The Decline In Europe

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Monday, 06 October 2014

Cane Sugar On The Decline In Europe

The next few weeks will prove pivotal for the sugar industry. ASR-BSI and the Belize Sugar cane Famers Association will be meeting to discuss the commercial agreement to pay for bagasse. IF they don't reach an agreement in time for the start of the cane season - it could be catastrophic for the industry.But even if they do hammer out an agreement, that would only be step one in a long journey towards long term prosperity for the sugar industry. That's because the global industry is at a turning point where European produced beet sugar is threatening to overtake cane sugar in the most lucrative market.

Earlier this week, Mac McLachlan, International Relations Advisor explained it to us:  "The global sugar market is changing and in particular the European market and the prices in Europe are falling. They are falling away as we speak and by 2017 when the market is fully regulated we are expecting that the prices that can be attained for sugar from any of the ACP countries to be around the global market level and we have to improve our competitiveness to get there. There are series of bottlenecks to achieving that and one of the key one is the sugarcane yield that we get in Belize at the moment which is a general problem for the industry. It's one of the lowest in the region and we need to increase that yield to improve the productivity. We've put a lot of investment in the last year or so into the mill to improve the efficiency of the mill and with the series of other things we need including improving investment climate. Unfortunately at that stage which was the time to start dealing with these things that was when BSCFA leadership decided to make a statement about bagasse and to walk out of that meeting which I think was a very damaging thing to do. We have urge BSCFA to come back and talk about these issues for a long period of time now and we have not have tangible progress."