REPORT #312 June 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The north of the country of Belize is in serious trouble with sugar this year. Dropping world prices are playing havoc. In most cases, the cost of production exceeds the returns.

Belizeans are not alone, they might like to take a look at what is happening to sugar farmers in the USA.

At the beginning of 1997, there was a steady rise in the production of sugar in the USA. This was accompanied by a price drop for sugar, as overproduction effected the bidding at auction. In 1998 farmers planted less sugar and production leveled off. The sugar prices went up slightly. In 1999 though over-production continued to increase and as more sugar was produced, the price of sugar dropped sharply.

The USA market for sugars and sweetners is glutted. This may be the first year since 1985, that sugar growers might default on their federal crop loans. This could saddle taxpayes in the USA with millions of dollars of unwanted sugar. The USA government in an attempt to alleviate the default on loans for sugar farmers has just made a purchase of $54.1 million of sugar.

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