During a recent visit to Belize, it was a real surprise to learn, taking into consideration the challenges experienced by the more traditional Caribbean sugar producers, that a new sugar estate is under construction in the country’s Cayo District. It’s called Green Tropics, and belongs to the Santander Group.In Belize it operates under “Santander Farms” responsible for cane cultivation and “Santander Sugar” for cane processing. (Cayo District in located on the western part of Belize, bordering with Guatemala. The country’s capital city, Belmopan, is located in the district.)
Green Tropics started in 2012 to build a 6,000 tdc mill and cultivate some 20,000 acres of cane lands. Most of the land is owned by the company, in contrast to the only mill currently in operation, the Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. (BSIL), which completed the recent harvest on an 8,000 tdc and it is owned by the ASR Group.
Sources in Orange Walk Town said that Green Tropics has already 400 hectares of cane seed, and the mill is expected to go online in early 2016. According to local news, the company would create some 300 permanent jobs, with another 700 during harvest. The company appears to face a challenge, however: there may not be a large enough pool of skilled sugar workers in the country.
According to local sugar sources, it seems that the Santander Group, which has been involved in sugar production in Guatemala for the past twenty years, wants to ship the sugar to the European Union via Guatemala. They don’t discard, however, supplying Mexico, the US and Canada.
Green Tropics would be the Caribbean newest sugar company, after the ones that appeared post-privatisation in Jamaica.