JIS News

With sugar production officially on at Frome, Westmoreland, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has expressed confidence that the factory’s 2009/10 production targets will be met.
Dr. Tufton made the disclosure at a Press Conference at the factory on Wednesday (December 9), following a tour of the operations, including the fields, the mills, processing, production and bagging areas.
He said that this year, the plan is to reap some 480,000 tonnes of cane, about 230,000 tonnes of which would be from private farmers and the rest from the estates, to produce just over 42,000 tons of sugar.
“Based on what has taken place so far, we are optimistic that that target can be met, as long as we get some sunshine to improve the sweetness content of the cane that is in the field”, the minister stated.
The Sugar Corporation of Jamaica’s (SCJ) production target for Government- owned factories, Frome and Monymusk combined, is 79,000 tonnes of sugar.
“In other words, we are very confident that all that had to be done has been done by the management, by the private farmers, by the estate, by the workers, in order to meet the target,” he explained.
He added that any adjustment of the target would be as a consequence of the environment or illicit fires.
With the matter of illicit fires being one of major concern within the Westmoreland sugar cane belt, the Minister pointed out that reports up to this point this year, when compared with the similar period last year, were showing that illicit fires represented just below 10% of what it was for the same period, last year.
He commended the surrounding communities, describing the situation as a significant accomplishment. He added that it is an indicator that they have bought into the plan for the future of the factory.
Looking ahead, Dr. Tufton said that the operations at Frome were at a point where all the critical stakeholders can feel encouraged. He, however, warned against complacency, calling for consistency which, he said, will determine the ultimate success of the factory.

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