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  • State Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Luther Buchanan, is assuring that the Government will continue to work with sugar industry stakeholders to ensure that the sector remains sustainable.

State Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Luther Buchanan, is assuring that the Government will continue to work with sugar industry stakeholders to ensure that the sector remains sustainable.

“The Government has an undying commitment to the success of the agricultural sector and specifically to the success of the sugar industry, which is the largest subsector; largest employer of labour and the largest foreign exchange earner in the agricultural sector,” he said.

The State Minister was addressing the Sugar Industry Delegates’ Conference at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville today (July 23).

Mr. Buchanan noted that the Government recently met with industry players and is awaiting proposals regarding a comprehensive set of activities to ensure the survival of the industry.

The State Minister said the Administration has a vested interest in seeing to the profitability of sugar, hence its move to divest all its holdings in the sector.

He noted that since divestment, 30,000 hectares of cane, valued at $2.9 billion have been planted.

In the meantime, Mr. Buchanan noted that the Government is continuing its drive to modernise the sector and is committed to pushing ahead with completing the restructuring of the Sugar Industry Research Institute (SIRI), and instituting the overall regulatory framework.

He said the Government will also continue to support initiatives to venture into new markets; as well as deal with the provision of critical infrastructure such as irrigation, roads and extension services.

Mr. Buchanan further called on sugar industry workers to avail themselves of the new training opportunities being made available, particularly through the Sugar Transformation Unit.

“Bear in mind also that as we diversify and modernise the sector, new opportunities will also emerge as a result of new value-added products and cogeneration,” he said.

The conference was held to inform and discuss with delegates, the present state of the sugar industry and its future prospects.

During the event, presentations on the status of the industry were done by representatives of Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited; and the Sugar Industry Authority.