Effective Management Can Make Sugar Industry Viable – Samuda

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the sugar industry is sustainable, once effective management is in place.
  • Making his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House, today (May 9), Mr. Samuda noted the importance of the industry to social stability and the economy, adding that abandoning sugar production will have “massive” economic and social consequences.
  • The Minister also urged that packaged sugar be expanded for the retail trade, noting that the Government has established a policy and legislative framework to move the industry forward, through the new standards for sugar in the retail trade, which requires compulsory packaging and labelling of the commodity.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the sugar industry is sustainable, once effective management is in place.

Making his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House, today (May 9), Mr. Samuda noted the importance of the industry to social stability and the economy, adding that abandoning sugar production will have “massive” economic and social consequences.

He called for support to tackle the various challenges affecting the industry, as “we have no alternative but to come together to make this industry work”.

The Minister told the House that the issue of productivity in the fields must be addressed with “urgency”, as it lies at the base of putting the sector on a sustainable path.

He emphasised that fertilising must be done properly and production expanded to ensure that the factories have the kind of throughput to give them a fighting chance.

“We have to urgently address the issue of the diversification of the product base of the sugar cane, away from just sugar and molasses and rum to plantation white sugar for use by our manufacturers; and co-generation for electricity and ethanol,” the Minister said.

The Minister also urged that packaged sugar be expanded for the retail trade, noting that the Government has established a policy and legislative framework to move the industry forward, through the new standards for sugar in the retail trade, which requires compulsory packaging and labelling of the commodity.

Operation at the Monymusk factory in Clarendon is beset by undercultivation of cane, according to the Minister, and at least 4,000 hectares of the crop are needed to make the factory viable.

The Government, he said, is not in a position to finance expansion of the cane fields, but is seeking to make the operations attractive to investors.

Mr. Samuda saluted officials at the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings, and workers, who stood courageously when the factories faced serious challenges last year.

He stressed that the Government was able to secure 800 jobs by its intervention in the industry, and prevented the collapse of communities in the producing areas.

JIS Social