Guatemala exports 61.17% of its sugar production, making it Latin America's second-largest sugar exporter, according to ASAZGUA
. Guatemala exports sugar to the US, Canada, China, South Korea, Taiwan, the Caribbean, Venezuela, and Chile.
What became clear after a morning tour of Guatemala's third-largest sugar operation--followed by a presentation at the Centro Guatemalteco de Investigacion y Capacitacion de la Cana (Cengicana) and a later meeting with ASAZGUA President Armando Boesche back in Guatemala City--is that when it comes to efficiency and productivity in the sugar industry, Cuba sure has a lot to learn.
Under Guatemalan law, all workers have the right to form unions--as long as a minimum of 28 workers petition for one--but so far, only one of ASAZGUA's member companies, Palo Gordo, is unionized.
In 2008, according to ASAZGUA, Colombia led the world in productivity, with 14.6 tons of sugar per hectare under cultivation, followed by Swaziland (13.9) and Guatemala (12.2).
Armando Boesche is general manager of ASAZGUA. We interviewed the 73-year-old executive at his wood-paneled office on the 19th floor of the swanky Euro Plaza skyscraper.
The Guatemalan Sugar Association, Asazgua
, forecast exports to Taiwan to jump by up to 49% next year after Taipei agreed to scrap import tariffs on a 70,000 ton quota of Guatemalan sugar under a free trade deal signed in July.
Guatemala produced 37,423,226 100-lb bags during the November 2000-May 2001 harvest, up 4% from the previous harvest, said Francisco Bonifaz, of the Guatemalan Sugar Growers' Association (Asazgua