RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The 2020-2021 sugar harvest in Guatemala closed with a production of 2.56 million metric tons, 7.2% less than the previous season, informed Thursday, the entrepreneurs of that sector of the country.
According to the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association (Asazgua) statistics, the total harvest between 2020 and 2021 was 55,758,979 quintals, some 2.56 million tons.
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This figure is equivalent to 7.2% less than the 2019-2020 sugar harvest in Guatemala when production reached 60,091,567 quintals (2.76 million tons).
According to sugar growers, in Guatemala, 253,000 hectares of sugarcane are cultivated, mainly on the southern coast of the Central American country, and the reduction in production, according to sugar growers, is due to the covid-19 pandemic.
NEW CANE VARIETY
For this harvest, the sugar mills promoted a cane variety called CG02-163, designed by scientists from the Guatemalan Sugarcane Research and Training Center (Cengicaña), which is high-yielding, disease-resistant, and adapts to climate variability.
According to Asazgua, this variety produces between 11.5 to 12.5 tons of sugar per cultivated hectare, which represents 1.4 tons more than the CP72-2086 variety, which is in second place, which comes from Canal Point in Florida, United States.
The institution’s general manager, Luis Miguel Paiz, told reporters that the research has contributed to improving harvest efficiency and has allowed Guatemala to be more competitive worldwide.
“The development of sugarcane varieties is one of the great contributions of the research center. Up to this year, we have developed, through the natural crossing of plants, 33 Guatemalan sugarcane varieties that are more productive, resistant to pests and climate change,” he said.
The sugarcane harvest begins in November and ends in May each year. For the southern coast of Guatemala, it is a season of economic reactivation, generating more than 54,000 direct jobs and hiring more than 6,325 large, medium, and small suppliers of products and services.
As part of the research, sugarcane residues are also used to produce alcohol and the generation of renewable energy. During the 2020-2021 harvest, sugar mills contributed 30% of the energy consumed in the country.
Sugar is one of the five most exported products by Guatemala abroad, according to official data from 2020, in a list led by clothing items together with cardamom.