Sugar Industry to Benefit From EU-Funded Technical Assistance

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda (centre, seated), and Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Her Excellency Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska (right, seated), sign the EU Sugar Technical Assistance Consultancy Programme agreement at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on May 10. At left is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry. In the back row (from left) are United Kingdom Deputy High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Nicholas Astbury; Sugar Transformation Unit Project Manager, Keleen Young-Grandison; Agricultural Attaché, EU Delegation in Jamaica, Stefano Cillí; Technical Assistance Programme Consultants, Gordon Allert and Andreas Bockermann; and Spanish Ambassador-designate to Jamaica, His Excellency Josep María Bosch Bessa.

Story Highlights

  • The sugar industry is set to benefit from the development of a comprehensive financial and economic model being piloted by a European Union (EU)-funded technical assistance consultancy programme.
  • The project, valued at approximately $37.8 million (€266,431), forms part of the EU’s wider complementary 2013 Sugar Accompanying Measures funding support for Jamaica, totalling some $4.18 billion (€29.5 million).
  • An Agreement formalising the consultancy programme was signed by Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Her Excellency Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, and Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, during a ceremony at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on May 10.

The sugar industry is set to benefit from the development of a comprehensive financial and economic model being piloted by a European Union (EU)-funded technical assistance consultancy programme.

The project, valued at approximately $37.8 million (€266,431), forms part of the EU’s wider complementary 2013 Sugar Accompanying Measures funding support for Jamaica, totalling some $4.18 billion (€29.5 million).

Earmarked activities being undertaken by a team of international experts over the next four months include development of the economic and financial model that facilitates ongoing research and serves as a source of data for policymakers; exploration of the opportunities for ethanol production; and creation of a sugar-cane payment formula for industry stakeholders, which will be analysed and reviewed in keeping with Jamaica’s needs.

An Agreement formalising the consultancy programme was signed by Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Her Excellency Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, and Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, during a ceremony at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on May 10.

Ambassador Wasilewska noted that the project’s commencement was timely, in light of the pending culmination of the EU sugar quota management framework.

“In fact, this the final stage in the reform process of the EU market, which began in 2006, has been the subject of Accompanying Measures Support for the ACP Caribbean industry and comes to an end in September,” she added.

Ambassador Wasilewska noted that the anticipated fall in EU prices could potentially pose a challenge for local sugar exporters who find themselves struggling to compete in the wider global market.

Against this background and other developments, she said the team of international experts would be collaborating with local stakeholders to advance the implementation of the Jamaica Country Strategy for the Adaptation of the Sugar Industry 2006 to 2020, with a view to developing a sustainable sector.

“Ahead of the expected changes in October 2017 and beyond, we hope that the results of this technical assistance will lead to effective options to support the sector through this change and suggest different approaches to the industry to make it commercially viable,” the EU Delegation Head said.

Ambassador Wasilewska spoke of the Government’s commitment to the local industry, being led by the Agriculture Ministry, to increase the added value for the sugar production chain.

“When I think of the sugar sector in Jamaica, I always have in mind the workers and the small farmers, their families and all the people in the sugar-dependent areas who are contributing to the country’s growth agenda. I will not grow tired of repeating that the European Union is a committed partner to Jamaica’s development,” she emphasised.

Ambassador Wasilewska assured that the EU is working to improve the relations between its Member States and Jamaica, “and we are proud of the results already achieved and those to come in the future”.

For his part, Mr. Samuda said the EU’s provision was welcome and greatly appreciated, noting that the attendant workshops, among other inputs, “are going to serve us immensely”.

“For us to have a successful industry, all the players must have a share in it. The process must include a provision somewhere along the line for the smallest player in the process, the person in the field chopping the cane, right up to the head of the factory that produces the final result. They must be part of that entire process, by way of rewards,” he said.

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