The Guatemalan Sugar Industry contributed with 30% of the electrical energy consumed in the country during the 2020-21 Zafra


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 diversidadSinces 2015 the Sugar Industry in conjunction with the ICC have released around 160,000 fingerlings and 18,000 freshwater snail 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.