Guatemalan Sugar Cane Agroindustry will reforest with more than 955,000 trees in 2023

The Guatemalan Sugar Association and the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC- presented the 2023 Reforestation Plan, which this year consists of planting more than 955,000 trees in 11 departments of the country that will cover around 860 hectares of land, a space that is equivalent to about 1,229 soccer fields.

With the first reforestation day, of the season, the 2023 Reforestation Plan began. The activity, in which 500 trees were planted, took place at the Limones farm at the outskirts of the town Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa; located at 90 kilometers (56 miles) at the south of Guatemala city.

The event included the participation of Alfredo Vila, president of the Association of Sugar Producers of Guatemala -Asazgua-; Dr. Alex Guerra, Director of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-; Ing. Rony Granados, Manager of the National Institute of Forests -INAB-; as well as collaborators of the sugar mills and journalists from the media.

With this year’s reforestation plan, 8.8 million trees will be planted since 2011, in strategic areas for the recovery and conservation of basins that influence the South of Guatemala. This as part of the commitment of the Sugarcane Agroindustry to sustainability and the care of natural resources,” said Alfredo Vila, president of Asazgua.

Reforestation will take place in 11 departments of the country: Escuintla, Chimaltenango, Retalhuleu, Suchitepéquez, Sacatepéquez, Santa Rosa, Jalapa, Quetzaltenango, Sololá, Jutiapa and San Marcos.

“In 2011 Asazgua, ICC and local partners started a program for the conservation and recovery of forests in strategic areas to contribute to the protection of riverbanks, water recharge zones and biological corridors. Around 7,000 hectares have been reforested, to which 860 will be added this year. By the end of 2023, the equivalent of 11,000 soccer fields will have been reforested,” said Alex Guerra, Director of the ICC.

Since the beginning of the program in 2011, 55 native species have been reforested, among them: matilisguate, aripín, cenícero, madre cacao, conacaste, cedar, mahogany, palo blanco, volador, plumillo, hormigo, caulote, among others.

ICC technical support

The ICC provides support and technical and scientific advice and is the link with communities, organizations, municipal and regional authorities, for the installation of nurseries and identification of reforestation areas. The 955,000 plants that will be planted this year were produced in 67 nurseries installed in different locations. In addition, this program has the support of the National Institute of Forests -INAB-.

In addition to this effort, the sugar mills have individual reforestation programs and their own natural forests, through which they total 14,800 hectares, equivalent to 21,144 soccer fields.

2023 Reforestation Plan

These efforts and those that are planned, contribute to the management of the Guatemalan Pacific basins since forest resources are vital to maintain the water cycle, protect the soil, maintain the diversity of flora and fauna, among other benefits.

Reforestation is also part of the contributions of the Sugarcane Agroindustry to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Organization, especially goal 15: “Life of Terrestrial Ecosystems”, which aims to manage forests of sustainable manner and objective 13 “Climate Action” which implies actions to combat the effects of climate change.

Guatemalan Sugar Cane Industry, hand over case studies at the UN

On May 2nd, at the headquarters of the United Nations Organization in New York, the president of the Guatemalan Sugar Association -Asazgua- Alfredo Vila and the general manager of Asazgua, Luis Miguel Paiz, handed over to Mr. Minoru Takada, Leader of the energy team in the Sustainable Development Goals Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the 17 case studies that document the contributions of the Guatemalan Sugarcane Industry for compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Asazgua is the first guild worldwide to present case studies regarding its contributions to the SDGs, which were made as a member of the United Nations Network for Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions. Minoru Takada highlighted that the Guatemalan Sugar Cane sector is an example of good practices in terms of Sustainability.

This delivery took place within the framework of the Presentation of the Sustainable Development Action Plan of the Union of Latin American Sugar Producers (UNALA). The case studies were prepared by Mr. Iván Vera, Senior United Nations consultant, in coordination with Asazgua.

UNALA presents its strategic sustainability plan at UN headquarters

The Union of Latin American Sugar Producers -UNALA- held its annual meeting on May 2nd at the United Nations building in New York, in which the presentation of its Strategic Sustainability Plan took place.

“The basis of the sustainability strategy that we present today is a sign of our commitment to a sustainable future and the need to work together to achieve it. We are committed to implementing sustainable practices in all our operations, reducing our environmental impact, and contributing to the social and economic development of the communities in which we operate,” said Alfredo Vila, president of UNALA and the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Similarly, Luis Miguel Paiz, general manager of Asazgua, who oversaw presenting the basis of the strategic plan for sustainable development, highlighted that the actions promoted by UNALA contribute to the fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other global agendas such as Climate Change and Biodiversity.

He added that sustainable production is carried out through the efficient use of resources and the development of renewable energies that help reduce the environmental impact and that UNALA, in its Sustainable Development plan, works to improve local communities and promote actions to mitigate deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

“The sugar industry contributes to the economic growth of the region, allowing not only new opportunities for its workers, but also the development of the countries. It also ensures the social development of its areas of action”, expressed Paiz.

He indicated that the Latin American sugar sector is not only efficient, but also environmentally responsible, and that the sustainable development of the sugar industry is key to reducing environmental impact, reducing greenhouse gases, and protecting biodiversity. Therefore, the Latin American sugar industry is much more than sugar, it is energy for sustainable development.

In this regard, the president of UNALA, Alfredo Vila, indicated that the adoption of sustainable practices in the industry represents important benefits for society in general, such as the reduction of poverty, the generation of employment, as well as the preservation of the environment.

“We are strongly committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by generating development opportunities, producing almost 6.5 million jobs, and producing renewable energy, such as ethanol and the cogeneration of electrical energy from sugarcane bagasse”, Vila said.

Juan Antonio Bernard Estrada, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. the permanent mission of Guatemala to the United Nations Organization; Alfredo Vila, president of UNALA; Luis Miguel Paiz, general manager of Asazgua; Minoru Takada, Energy team leader in the Sustainable Development Goals Division, Nadine Salame of the Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network. Directors and representatives of the 12 organizations that make up UNALA were also present.