Helping to building the adaptive capacity of sugarcane farmers in Northern Belize

Our raw sugar suppliers are mills. Some mills farm the sugarcane they process, some buy sugarcane from independent farmers. Those farmers might be tiny smallholders or larger estates. Sugarcane producers are among the communities most affected by climate change, facing challenges such as extreme weather events including frequent and intense tropical storms, which devastate cane fields and infrastructure, as well as floods, unseasonal rains and droughts. Belize is particularly vulnerable to climate change, due to its being low-lying, and its sugar industry is expected to be significantly impacted by climate hazards in the future.

A supplier of raw sugar to our Thames Refinery, Belize Sugar Industries Ltd (BSI), a mill in ASR Group, has secured a $25million grant from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) to enhance the industry’s resilience to climate change. The grant will fund the Building the Adaptive Capacity of Sugarcane Farmers in Northern Belize project, which seeks to assist over 5,000 smallholder cane farmers to become more viable and resilient to climate shocks.

The project has multiple components, including developing new climate-resilient sugarcane varieties. It will also subsidise the cost of adaptation and change for farmers who join the programme, helping them to adopt regenerative farming practices such as replanting and improved soil and water management. In addition, the project aims to increase the use of mechanical green cane harvesting, reducing production costs and carbon emissions.

If sugarcane producers are to continue to thrive, we must work together to help them adapt and to adopt regenerative farming practices that ecologically protect and replenish the land. Read more about the project here.