“This program in Belize will help us proudly say we are buying the best possible quality sugar that was grown in a way that helps others.” This is what Perry Cerminara, Commodities Sourcing Director from The Hershey Company, stated at the Launch of the “Sweet Sampling
for Sweet Returns” Project. The event took place at Richmond Hills, Guinea Grass Farms in the Orange Walk District on Tuesday November 14, 2017.
Perry continued saying that he looks forward for great things under this partnership and that the company is excited to genuinely be a part of something that’s enriching other people’s lives.
BSI, in partnership with the Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC) will implement this project co-funded by the Hershey Company. In attendance at the launch were officials from the Hershey Company in Pennsylvania, Perry Cerminara and Scott Rownd, employees of BSI,
representatives of the government regulating bodies and the three sugar cane farmer associations.
The objective of this three year project is to offer technical assistance and training to test group and harvesting group leaders on how to select the sweetest and most mature canes for harvesting. With the results of cane sampling and analysis, farmers can make better harvesting plans which will help improve sugar yields for the entire sugar industry. During the launch, six test groups from all three associations signed up for participation for the first round of preharvest cane quality testing for crop season 2017-2018.
The Hershey Company contributed US$300,000 to the project for the three years. BSI’s counterpart contribution is geared towards technical expertise and cane analysis at its Spectracane Laboratory meanwhile the SCPC is contributing field and lab personnel as well as the use of the newly established Near Infrared Laboratory (NIR).
The process of pre-harvest cane quality monitoring is like taking a ‘blood test’ of the cane. It consists of taking samples of fields that are ten months or older. These samples are taken to a laboratory to extract its juice and then analyze for Brix, Pol, Fibre, Moisture and calculated Purity. The results of these analyses are then given to the group leaders to prioritize their harvesting.