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JIS News

With the 2009/2010 sugar crop season at the Frome Estate to officially close in a few days, Operations Manager, Mr. Victor Wright, said that production targets will be met and will most likely be surpassed.
Harvesting at Frome started on December 4, 2009 and is scheduled to officially end on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Mr. Wright, informed however, that reaping will continue beyond Tuesday, until all the cane in the fields have come in.
He told JIS News that at the start of the season, a production target of 42,000 tonnes of sugar was set, but this was later revised to 40,900 tonnes due to the temporary suspension of reaping for two weeks in January to allow waterlogged fields to dry out and for the cane quality to improve.
To date, the Westmoreland-based factory has produced some 37,426 tonnes of sugar with cane in the fields still to be reaped. “We are pretty comfortable that we will reach the revised target if not the original target of 42,000 tonnes in another 10 days,” Mr. Wright stated. He noted that the target for export to Italian company Eridania Suisse SA “is guaranteed and will be easily met”.
The Operations Manager credited the strong figures to among other things, intervention strategies, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of illicit fires in the parish this year. These interventions, he said, involved the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, and targeted employees, stakeholder groups, and the wider community.
“This (crop) year, we had a total of 378 fires and this compares to 578 for the similar period last year. If we look at it in terms of the volume of canes that were burnt, this year 109,000 tonnes of cane were affected, while last year, 251,000 tonnes were affected, so you can see the significant reduction. A little over 100 per cent less cane was illicitly burnt this year,” he informed.
Mr. Wright also lauded the collaborative effort among stakeholders, which he said, has given Frome, “one of the best crops on record”.
“The employees have done extremely well. All our stakeholders – contractors, farmers, the unions – everyone was onboard and we got a lot of support; we did extremely well,” he said.