The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ends the 2020/2021 Zafra, driven by a Guatemalan sugarcane variety

End of zafra 2020-2021 in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ended the suar cane harvest and sugar production season driven by the CG02-163 sugarcane variety developed by scientists from the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training in Sugar Cane -Cengicaña-; this is a high-yield cane, resistant to diseases and adapted to climate variability.

The CG02-163 sugarcane variety leads the Guatemalan Sugar IndustryThe CG02-163 sugarcane variety, currently occupying the largest planted area in the country, has a yield ranging from 11.5 to 12.5 tons of sugar per cultivated hectare. This variety produces an average of 1.4 tons more per hectare than the second-place variety CP72-2086, which comes from Canal Point in Florida, United States.

This contributed to the production for the 2020/2021 harvest being 55,758,979 quintals of sugar or 2,564,901 metric tons of sugar, with a cultivated area of 253 thousand hectares. This harvest was challenging due to the conditions presented by the pandemic and all the biosanitary measures were taken for the prevention of COVID-19, both in the workplace and in the communities of the South of Guatemala.

“Research and development is a fundamental pillar for the Sugar Industry, it has contributed to improve efficiency each harvest and has allowed us to be more competitive worldwide. The development of cane varieties is one of the great contributions of the research center, until this year we have developed, through the natural crossing of plants, 33 Guatemalan cane varieties that are more productive, resistant to pests and climate change”, commented Luis Miguel Paiz, general manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Renewable energy cogeneration

As part of the research, sugarcane residues are also used to produce alcohol and the generation of renewable energy and during the 2020/2021 harvest, cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country, reaching peaks in some days that reached 46%.

Renewable energy produce with sugarcane biomassIn that period, the Sugar Industry generated 1,844 (GWh) gigawatt-hours of renewable energy to deliver to the grid; the equivalent of 2 times the consumption of all the Municipal Electric Companies of Guatemala for 1 year.

Zafra is development for Guatemala

The zafra begins in November and ends in May of the following year and, for the South of Guatemala, it is a season of economic reactivation since it generates more than 54 thousand direct jobs and the hiring of more than 6,325 suppliers, large, medium and small of products and services, who also become employers and multiply opportunities for the local population. The sugar sector generates more than 270 thousand indirect jobs each year.

Production of Guatemalan SugarThe sugar mills associated with Asazgua operate under a strict labor and environmental policy and distribute each year around US$402 million in wages and salaries, in addition to providing complementary health services to their collaborators. In a study prepared by Asazgua, the economic footprint or spill of sugar in Guatemala is more than US$ 1,188 million and reaches 90% of the country’s municipalities.

Guatemala has one of the most efficient sugar shipping terminals in the world

Expogranel, Guatemalan Sugar shipping terminal

Expogranel, located in Puerto Quetzal, is the specialized terminal for handling and shipping bulk sugar in Guatemala, which has positioned as one of the most efficient terminals in the world.

With a system of conveyor belts, shipping cranes and hydraulic bridges, the terminal can receive up to 800 metric tons of sugar per hour and fill a bulk ship at a rate of 2,000 metric tons of bulk sugar per hour on average.

Almacen de azucar en ExpogranelThe hydraulic bridges, sugar launchers, automatic samplers, conveyor belt system, shipping cranes, among others, were designed and manufactured in Guatemala with the support of the Sugar Industry.

Similarly, the bag terminal has an efficient operation that allows it to operate 10 trucks per hour to fill containers with bags of sugar. This design, specialized equipment and professional staff have made Expogranel a fundamental piece for the growth and competitiveness of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry.

The terminal has a capacity to store 58,000 metric tons of sugar in bags.

Before Expogranel existed, a ship of 35 thousand metric tons was loaded in 30 days and today it is done in an average of 18 hours. And it has a sugar shipping capacity of more than 3,500 tons in bags per day.

In addition, the Expogranel laboratory stands out for the reliability and impartiality of its results accredited with the international standard ISO 17025 and the specialization it possesses.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry promotes sports and a healthy lifestyle

Sugar Industry sponsors a football team

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry promotes sports and a healthy lifestyle and this Tuesday proudly announced that now sponsors the FC Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa team of the National Soccer League.

“The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is very committed to issues of health, education, community development, and today we are getting involved in another important activity such as sport,” said Alvaro Ruiz, vice president of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Also, Rodolfo Puertas, president of FC Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, current champion of the National League, said “for us it is a privilege to have this association (as a sponsor) and to be able to count on the support of the sugar sector.”

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry considers physical activity as a fundamental element for a healthy lifestyle, and supports events such as the Sugar Race, a 10.5 kilometers route that marks the beginning of the Zafra and has been carried out every year since 1987.

Another important component for a healthy life is food security, the Sugar Industry through the Sugar Foundation -Fundazucar- has implemented the Better Families program that promotes food and nutritional security, as well as the empowerment of women as agents of change and catalyst for development.

The program has been so successful that four municipalities of the South of the country signed a cooperation agreement with Fundazucar for the transfer of the methodology that allows educating mothers in preventive health with sustainable actions to improve the conditions of their children, family and community.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry supports health centers to face the COVID crisis

Fundazucar delivered kits EPP to health workers

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry continues to support health centers on the South of the country with the delivery of 1,204 protection kits for public health workers in the departments of Escuintla, Jutiapa, Retalhuleu, Santa Rosa and Suchitepequez.

Each kit contains 4 KN95 masks, 2 gowns, 3 pairs of gloves and 1 protection mask.

Likewise, the Sugar Industry, through -Fundazucar-, supplied the health services with 124 gallons of glycerinated alcohol and the same number of gallons of antibacterial gel for disinfecting the hands of patients and workers.

152 gallons of alcohol were also delivered to municipalities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the 44 markets and public squares of the South of Guatemala.

Fundazucar delivered kits EPP to health workersSince the beginning of the pandemic, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has distributed 6,706 Kits to health workers from the health services of the South of the country. It has also delivered 16,676 surgical masks and 1,749 gallons of glycerinated alcohol to municipalities.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry, in addition to contributing with donations to the authorities, has promoted and supported projects focused on finding solutions to face the pandemic.

Fundazucar delivered kits EPP to health workers

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry contributed up to 46% of the electrical energy consumed in the country during the 2020-21 Zafra

biomass

The cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country during the 2020/21 harvest, reaching peaks in some days that reached up to 46%. This was announced by the Association of Independent Cogenerators of Guatemala -ACI-, in the presentation of the results of electricity generation.

Luis Ortiz, Executive Director of ACI, explained that during the 2020/21 Zafra, the cogeneration plants generated 1,844 (GWh) gigawatt-hours of renewable energy to deliver to the grid; the equivalent of 2 times the consumption of all the Municipal Electric Companies of Guatemala for 1 year or to all the energy consumed by the more than 1.1 million users during a year.

CogenerationThe maximum available power of the Cogeneration Plants to deliver to the grid during the Zafra was 562 (MW) megawatts, which is equivalent to 2 times the maximum capacity of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam, the plant with the highest electricity generation capacity in Guatemala. For this, more than 6.4 million tons of cane biomass, a product of the sugar production process, were used.

The electricity production of the Cogenerators is fundamental for the Guatemalan electricity system because it contributes to the diversification of the energy matrix and to the stability of the electricity tariff. The electricity produced by the Sugar Industry is renewable, cheap and complements during the dry season, which is when the capacity of the hydroelectric plants is reduced because there is less water availability.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has an installed generation capacity of 1020 MW, this makes them self-sufficient in the energy field since they generate their own energy and the surplus is sold to the National Interconnected System (SNI). 63% of the energy produced during the 2020/21 harvest was injected into the SNI to meet national demand and exports to Central America and Mexico; and the remaining 37% was used for the operation of the sugar mills.

With this generation of renewable energy, up to 4 million tons of CO2eq are prevented from reaching the environment each year, according to a study by the Guatemalan Sugar Carbon Footprint, carried out by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research of Guatemala -ICC-.

ACI was founded in 1997. It is made up of 8 cogeneration plants, which use one of the by-products of sugar production, the biomass of sugar cane, for the production of 100% renewable energy.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry contributes to the aquatic biodiversity

Ingenios azucareros siembran peces para contribuir con la diversidad

The conservation of biodiversity is one of the commitments of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, therefore it is one of the main axes of its the Environmental Policy. Within this framework, the sugar sector has implemented the fish stocking program in the rivers of the South of Guatemala.

The stocking of fish aims to increase the population of native species in rivers. The Guatemalan Sugar Industry, with the support of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-, breed 3 species of native mojarras: Prieta, Tusa and Balcera; in addition to the freshwater snail, which reproduce in ponds and are released into rivers with the support of the community.

Los ingenios azucareros siembran peces para contribuir a la diversidadThe Sugar Industry in conjunction with the ICC have released around 50,000 fingerlings into three rivers of the South of Guatemala. The ICC conducts studies to analyze the fish population in various rivers of the South of Guatemala, with the aim of determining how the aquatic fauna is doing and prioritizing fish releases where necessary, always using native species.

The Environmental Policy of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, which began to be implemented in the 2015/16 zafra, regulates eight aspects: sugarcane burning, use and management of fertilizers, use of water, use of vinaza, use of water in the factory, solid waste management, particulates in chimneys and air quality; as well as protection of biodiversity. Every year improvements are made to achieve this objective of caring for the environment in its operation.

Business Network for the Prevention of Child Labour in Guatemala receives an international award for its leadership

no child labour award

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry congratulates the Chamber of Agro -Camagro- and the Business Network for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor, for obtaining first place in the international award “Leader of Change for the Eradication of Child Labour”, which is granted by the International Organization of Employers -OIE-.

With the initiative “Boys and Girls to School”, the Guatemalan business network stood out in the contest due to the diversity of innovative activities, promoted through different sectors, with positive impacts on the elimination and prevention of child labour. The network is made up of 18 business organizations, 4 NGOs, 2 government institutions and 2 international organizations.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry actively participates, both in Camagro and in the Business Network. Since 1999 has permanently contributed to the prevention and eradication of child labor, through a union policy that establishes the working conditions to generate decent employment and the No child labor in the activities of the sugar sector.

Likewise, it contributes to this objective through the social programs carried out by Fundazucar, which are focused on strengthening public institutions and promoting responsible citizen participation to influence the improvement of the quality-of-life indicators of the population in the 56 municipalities of the South of Guatemala where it operates, promoting equal opportunities for the education of boys and girls.

Prevention and eradication of work child

The joint efforts made by the Sugar Industry, in coordination with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association and community coordination through Fundazucar, have allowed great advances in the prevention and eradication of child labour because each of the parties has assumed the role that corresponds to open up opportunities for sustainable solutions within the framework of public policy.

no child labour award“The Guatemalan Sugar Industry reiterates its commitment to the generation of formal, dignified and decent employment, and the No child labor,” said Alfredo Vila, President of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

This award recognizes the efforts that each of the sectors represented in Camagro and in the Business Network have made over the years to avoid hiring child labor and to bet on a better future for Guatemalan children through education.

The jury that chose the winners was made up of the International Organization of Employers -OIE-, the Kalash Foundation and the International Labor Organization -OIT-. The announcement of the global winners was made on June 16th, 2021, from Geneva, Switzerland.

Ambassador Popp visited the Guatemalan Sugar Industry to learn about its labor practices

Ambassador Popp knows labor practices of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry

The United States Ambassador in Guatemala, Mr. William W. Popp, on May 20th visited sugar cane plantations to learn about the labor conditions that the Guatemalan Sugar Industry provides to the thousands of workers that each year participate in the agricultural and industrial area. Ambassador Popp was accompanied by Mr. Mauricio Cortes, from the US State Department.

The visit allowed Ambassador Popp and Mr. Cortes to converse with workers from various areas of the sugarcane agricultural process. At the Tehuantepec Farm, in Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, Escuintla, they learned about manual sowing, manual overseeding, semi-mechanized overseeding and the application of nutrients. Likewise, they were able to share with the workers of the first mechanized cutting front, made up only of women.

Ambassador Popp knows labor practices of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry

During lunch, he spoke with officials from Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua- about the importance of all associated sugar producers complying with the working conditions of formal, dignified, and decent employment, where the non-existence of child labor stands out. All of this is the result of the corporate governance model that the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has, since 2000, for labor and environmental aspects based on national legislation and international commitments.

Guatemalan Sugar Industry an economic engine

It is worth mentioning that the United States is an important market for Guatemalan Sugar since it is the second destination for sugar exports. The sugar agribusiness is a source of prosperity for the country, it generates more than 56 thousand direct jobs and 280 thousand indirect jobs.

More than 1.8 million people depend on the productive activities of the sector. Similarly, the economic footprint amounts to $1,165 million annually. Of that amount, $394 million are destined to the payment of wages and labor benefits.

On the other hand, the sugar activity maintains commercial relationships with 6,325 suppliers of inputs and services, who in turn generate more job opportunities, thus boosting the national economy, since they are present in almost 90% of the country’s municipalities.

Ambassador Popp knows labor practices of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry

During their visit, Ambassador Popp and Mr. Cortes were able to learn about the working conditions in situ, and it was agreed to follow-up and further study other issues.

“The doors of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry are open,” said Maria Silvia Pineda, CSR and Sustainability Manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association.

 

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry works on soil conservation

Acequia y pozo de filtracion

Since 2012, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has worked hand in hand with the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training of Sugar Cane -Cengicaña- and the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC- in the development and implementation of practices for soil conservation.

Soil conservation is based on those practices that make it possible to stop or avoid erosion, conserve the soil, and improve its fertility and productivity.

Acequia y pozo de filtracion
Rainwater is captured in ditches and wells, this is an agronomic practice that contributes to the recharge of groundwater.

For example, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry in conjunction with the ICC have implemented ditches and wells that help rainwater infiltrate.

This agronomic practice, responsible with the environment, contributes to the recharge of groundwater, to mitigate the erosion of the soil by precipitation and to avoid floods.

Green fertilizer to nourish the soils

Another good practice for soil protection is the green fertilizer program developed by Cengicaña for the use of the sugar sector. This program is an ecological measure of planting legume plants that provide the soil with nitrogen and thus avoid the use of commercial products.

When legumes are mixed with the soil, they contribute organic matter that improves the texture and structure of the soil. In addition, it promotes the development of microorganisms that are beneficial for crops.

More than 900 thousand trees will be planted in 2021

the Reforestation Plan of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry was launched

Within the framework of National Tree Day, the Reforestation Plan of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry was launched, which for this year consists of the planting of 900 thousand trees in 10 departments of the country.

The planting of the 900 thousand trees takes place between May and August, on 400 hectares of land, which in the future will become forests in the departments of Santa Rosa, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, Suchitepequez, Retalhuleu, Jalapa, Solola, Sacatepequez , Jutiapa and Quetzaltenango.

The Reforestation Plan of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry began with a symbolic planting of 100 trees on a farm in Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, Escuintla; with which the forest cover in the area is increased. It should be noted that, since 2017, more than 2,700 trees have been planted in the area, reaching three hectares of forest.

The activity was attended by the Regional Delegate of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources -MARN-, Eng. Juan Chamo; the Escuintla Subregional Director of the National Forest Institute -INAB-, Eng. Hugo Rene Monroy; the Manager of Environmental Compliance Manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-, Eng. Otto Fuentes; the Director of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-, Ph. D. Alex Guerra; as well as collaborators from the sugar mills and the media.

“As part of our commitment to the care and conservation of the environment, since 2011 the Guatemalan Sugar Industry started a program with the -ICC-, for the conservation and recovery of forests in strategic areas that contribute to the protection of riverbanks, zones of hydric recharge and biological corridors” affirmed Otto Fuentes, Manager of Environmental Compliance Manager of Asazgua.

the Reforestation Plan of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry was launched

Through this program, by the end of 2021, a total of 6.8 million trees will be planted in eleven years, with the support of the sugar sector,” said Alex Guerra, Director of the ICC. Likewise, he indicated that in each region native species are planted that serve as energy, timber, and conservation plantations; among them Cedar, Mahogany, Palo Blanco, among others”.

ICC provides technical and scientific support and advice and is the link with communities, organizations, municipal and regional authorities, for the installation of nurseries and identification of reforestation areas. The 900 thousand plants to be planted this year were produced in 88 nurseries installed in different locations. In addition, this program has the support of the National Institute of Forests -INAB-.