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Guatemala's Sugar Production Increase Dependent on Yield Increases

22 April 2014
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

GUATEMALA - Guatemalan sugarcane planted area has been expanding by three per cent (average annual basis) for the past ten years. However, lack of available land and poor country infrastructure close to the South Coast of Guatemala will limit planted area growth in the next ten years.

Production increase is now more dependent on yield increases and sugar extraction efficiency. In MY 2014-2015, planted area is forecast at 264,000 Ha.

Sugarcane yields in MY 2013-2014 (101.68 MT/Ha) have reached the second highest record after the record high of MY 2009-2010 (102.40 MT/Ha).

The Guatemalan sugar industry continues to be one of the most efficient in productivity terms and port loading capacity (2,200 MT/hour).

Guatemala has the largest storage capacity in the Central American region (431,000 MT). For MY 2012-2013, Guatemala ranked fourth in the list of major sugar producers in Latin America, jumping to the second position of exports in Latin America, and third in competitiveness (utilization/capacity) on a global scale, after Colombia and Swaziland.

Domestic Consumption for MY 2013-2014 is estimated at 764,000 MT, four per cent below Post’s MY 2012-2013 estimate.

Exports for MY 2014-2015 are forecast at 2.0 MMT. Guatemala is the world’s fourth largest exporter (Guatemalan exports represent four per cent of total world exports) and fourth largest producer in Latin America.

The United States, for the first time since the 1980’s, was not a major export market for Guatemalan sugar, which was mainly exported during MY 2012-2013 to China, South Korea, and Syria.

The export distribution pattern has changed quite significantly in the past two decades. North America used to have close to 50 per cent of Guatemalan sugar share, with an important share sent to Eastern Europe and Russia.

During MY 2012-2013 harvest, the North America share declined to 33 per cent (still a major market), while the Far East and Oceania have increased their share to 21 per cent, South America to 14 per cent, and the participation of East Europe and Russia has declined to three per cent.

Further Reading

You can view the USDA GAIN: Guatemala Sugar Annual 2014 report by clicking here.

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