The sugar industry should be significantly enhanced with a $1.9 billion allocation for this sector in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
Of the sum, $1.8 billion will go towards carrying out the activities of the Sugar Transformation Unit, which include compensation of employees, grants and contributions, and rental of property, machinery and equipment; while the remaining $96 million will be used for the repair of sugar cane roads.
The intention is to develop a sustainable private sector-led sugar cane industry by year 2015; and to co-ordinate the smooth and effective implementation of the Jamaica Country Strategy for the Adaptation of the Sugar Industry 2006 to 2020.
For the 2012/2013 financial year, the project will seek to support improved efficiency and productivity of the cane farming sector; rehabilitate rural cane roads and clean regional drains in the St. Thomas and Westmoreland sugar dependent areas; and support improvements to social, economic and environmental infrastructure in seven sugar dependent areas.
There are also plans over the period to relocate residents of the Sugar Estate Barracks in Frome and Monymusk to new housing settlements. Public awareness activities are also to be carried out.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter