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Story Highlights

  • Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, has indicated that ongoing discussions are being held with investors showing interest in the acquisition of certain sugar estate
  • Mr. Samuda pointed out that the plans laid out by the investors are far-reaching and beneficial to a number of persons.
  • Meanwhile, Head of Cooperation at the European Union (EU) Delegation, Achim Schaffert, said his organisation is supporting the Government to give special attention to sugar-dependent areas (SDAs).

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, has indicated that ongoing discussions are being held with investors showing interest in the acquisition of certain sugar estates.

Speaking at the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) inaugural post-crop seminar in Mandeville, on September 21, Mr. Samuda said he is hoping to close a deal with prospective buyers interested in the Long Pond Sugar Factory in Trelawny.

“We’re hoping to get into the field to start reaping the cane, so that we do not have the low productivity that we experienced in the crop that has just been completed,” he said.

Mr. Samuda indicated that an analysis of the ratio of cane to sugar for that estate was “not good” due to delays in reaping.

Discussions are also being held with investors who have an interest in taking over the operations of Monymusk Sugar Factory in May Pen, Clarendon; and the Frome Sugar Factory, in Westmoreland.

Mr. Samuda informed that out of his September 20 meeting with the investors, they are convinced that with proper management the factories can be profitable.

“They have met with myself, the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and I believe they have extended their interest by meeting with the Pan Caribbean team,” he said.

Mr. Samuda pointed out that the plans laid out by the investors are far-reaching and beneficial to a number of persons.

Meanwhile, Head of Cooperation at the European Union (EU) Delegation, Achim Schaffert, said his organisation is supporting the Government to give special attention to sugar-dependent areas (SDAs).

“We are trying to rehabilitate strategic social and economic infrastructure, such as schools, clinics, libraries, heritage sites, water systems and rural markets. The process to involve and impact the communities in the SDAs might be slow and complex, but it is an investment in people,” he said.

Mr. Schaffert added that his organisation fully endorses plans to reposition the industry.

Research by the Sugar Industry Research Institute (SIRI) to allow the industry to maximise its full potential is also being supported by the EU, which donated a number of equipment to facilitate this process.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SIA, George Callaghan, said to reposition the local sugar industry, productivity issues need to be addressed.

“We have to increase the yield per acre from the farmers. In terms of the factories they need to be more efficient,” he said.

As it relates to factory performance, Mr. Callaghan stated that only one sugar factory, Worthy Park Estate in St. Catherine, met the standards.

Held under the theme ‘Repositioning the Sugar-cane Industry’, the seminar was attended by more than 100 key industry stakeholders.

It was aimed at reviewing the outcome of the 2015/2016 sugar-cane crop and coming up with strategies to reposition the industry.