Thousands of workers began their jobs at the Guatemalan sugar mills.
Guatemala November 6, 2018. Today, the sugar mills Magdalena and Madre Tierra began operation, marking the beginning of the 2018-2019 sugarcane harvest season in Guatemala; known locally as “Zafra” the sugar production that will last six months.
For the people living at the South of Guatemala, the Zafra is synonymous with economic reactivation since every year the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generates more than 80 thousand direct and 410 thousand indirect jobs, in addition to the hiring of thousands of suppliers of products and services, who also generate more jobs.
The sugar mill are members of the Guatemalan Sugar Association -Asazgua- and they operate under a strict labor policy and distribute every year the equivalent to US$400 million in wages, in addition to providing their employees with additional health, entertainment and food services. The Guatemalan Sugar Sector generates 5 percent of all formal jobs in the country.
There are 11 sugar mills operating in the process of making sugar in Guatemala, they are in the south region of the country in the departments of Escuintla, Santa Rosa, Suchitepéquez and Retalhuleu. In adition to producing sugar they generate renewable electric energy, which during the harvest covers up to 32% of the national demand. They also produce alcohol that is exported mainly to the United States and Europe.
During the 2017-2018 harvest season, 2 million 752 thousand 575 metric tons of sugar were produced, of which 70 percent was exported to more than 70 countries in the world. This exports represent 9 percent of the country’s total exports, according to figures from the Guatemalan Central Bank. This year the projection is that the production will remain similar.
Guatemala is the second largest exporter of sugar in Latin America and the fourth in the world; Guatemalan Sugar also has the third place in productivity worldwide with respect to obtaining sugar per hectare cultivated.