Zafra 2020/21 begins, a season of sweetness and development
The Zafra has started with a “Return to work Protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19”.
The Guatemalan Sugar Industry began the 2020/21 harvest under strict measures for the prevention of Covid-19 with the commitment to guarantee the supply of sugar, alcohol, and energy for millions of families.
The Zafra begins each year in November and ends in May, a time during which economic reactivation is propitiated in the South of Guatemala, due to the generation of jobs and the hiring of hundreds of suppliers of products and services.
Measures that sugar mills have adopted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
The production of food and energy are essential; therefore, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is committed to Guatemala and the world to guarantee the supply of sugar, alcohol, and electricity.
The sugar mills continue their operations under strict preventive measures to provide a safe work environment, following Occupational Health and Safety protocols and the dispositions of the authorities.
In order to maintain sanitary measures, there is the: “Return to work protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19“, which has been designed and formulated by the Guatemalan Sugar Industry with COVID-19 preventive measures to apply in administrative, agricultural and industrial areas.
This protocol was created based on the Presidential Provisions, the Protocol of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS), the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Each sugar mill adopts and adapts it to its daily operation, within the terms of the Law and the Epidemiological Surveillance System of the Occupational Health and Safety Union Policy.
Production projection for the 2020/21 Zafra
For the 2020/21 Zafra, the production expectation will remain between 2.6 and 2.7 metric tons of sugar.
According to the projection, the production of the 2020/21 Zafra in quintals is equivalent approximately to 57 and 58 million quintals of sugar. Guatemala is the third country with the highest productivity in the world, obtaining an average of 10.6 tons of sugar for each hectare of cane cultivated.
For this harvest, the cultivated area is 250,662 hectares and according to the Forest Cover Map prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food -MAGA-, the cultivation of sugarcane represents 3.3% of the arable area of the country.
During the 2019/20 harvest, 56 thousand direct jobs and 280 thousand indirect jobs were generated, benefiting 90% of the municipalities of Guatemala with the economic footprint of Sugar.
Guatemalan Sugar in the world
Guatemala is the second largest sugar exporter in Latin America and the fourth worldwide; it also has the third place in productivity at the global level with respect to obtaining sugar per hectare of cultivated cane.
The main export markets in the 2019/20 Zafra were Canada, the United States, Chile, Mauritania, Taiwan, China, New Zealand, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal. For this year, countries such as Romania and Equatorial Guinea are added, to which sugar from Guatemala will be exported for the first time.
These exports, added to those of alcohol and molasses, represent 7% of the country’s exports in 2019, according to figures from the Bank of Guatemala.
Renewable energy production
There are 11 sugar mills, and they operate in the departments of Escuintla, Santa Rosa, Suchitepequez and Retalhuleu. In addition to producing sugar, they generate renewable electricity. During the previous harvest, the mills served up to 35% of the national energy demand.
During the 2019/20 harvest, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generated 1,991 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy; 8.6% more than what was generated during the previous season 2018/19, when 1,834 GWh were generated. Contributing to the diversification of the energy matrix and the stability of the electricity rate in the country.