- Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has welcomed Complant's $1.6 billion investment to upgrade three sugar factories.
- This should facilitate increased production from the current output of 140,000 tonnes, to 450,000 tonnes over the period.
- Complant’s focus on energy efficiency will also contribute to “tremendous improvement” in productivity levels.
Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has welcomed China National Complete Plant Import and Export Company Limited’s (Complant) $1.6 billion investment to upgrade operations at three of the island’s sugar factories it owns, over the next three years.
This should facilitate increased production from the current output of 140,000 tonnes, to 450,000 tonnes over the period, he noted.
The Minister’s comments came after his tour of the field and factory operations at one of the facilities, Monymusk Sugar Factory, in Lionel Town, Clarendon, on February 26.
Mr. Kellier, who was taken on the tour by representatives of Complant’s local subsidiary which manages the factories, Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, was shown rehabilitation and upgrading activities, which are also earmarked for the other factories at Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine; and Frome in Westmoreland.
These include: introduction of state-of-the-art cane harvesters; installation of pivot irrigation facilities; and advanced energy efficient machinery for cane milling, juice extraction, and processing of sugar and other by-products.
Mr. Kellier told journalists after the tour that he is “particularly pleased with the tremendous effort” at Monymusk, noting this is indicative that activities are in high gear for a bumper crop year in 2014 and beyond.
“Success in this regard will be on the basis of increasing the hectares presently under cultivation from 3,000 to 6,700 in the next three years,” he said.
The Minister argued that Complant’s focus on energy efficiency will also contribute to “tremendous improvement” in productivity levels.
“This is music to my ears, given that our primary focus going forward, within the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is to spearhead a ‘productivity revolution’ in Jamaica,” he said.
Mr. Kellier informed that the Ministry is currently finalizing the programme for roll out, which is to highlight the importance of enhanced productivity to Jamaica’s future economic development.
“From what I have seen at Monymusk, I would like to believe that Pan Caribbean Sugar Company can play a significant role in the success of the productivity revolution, by the technological and modernization projects it is currently implementing to increase the production of sugar cane yield at its three major operating plants,” he said.
Mr. Kellier said the upgrading exercise will redound to overall long-term benefit of the economy and people of Jamaica, as it will also create jobs, “one of the main outcomes that we expect from this major investment.”
In her remarks, Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Lei Liu, who accompanied the Minister, spoke of the positive impact which Complant’s rehabilitation and upgrading exercise will have on Jamaica’s economic and social development.
“Like many other Chinese companies operating in Jamaica (Complant) has incorporated its social responsibility into its business operations and development strategy by donating to local communities…and doing whatever is possible within its capability for the development of the community,” she added.
Pan Caribbean’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Huaixiang Wu, indicated that efforts will be made to undertake significant upgrading and rehabilitation works, particularly within the first year of the exercise.
Local Government and Community Development Minister and Member of Parliament for Southwest Clarendon, where many of Monymusk’s nearly 700 employees reside, Hon. Noel Arscott, noted that sugar production is the “lifeline” in the region.
“I am happy to know that you have set your target to increase production this year, almost double that of last year, and by next year we expect that to be doubled, as well. The workers and Jamaica will benefit from an advanced developed sugar industry. You have our full support going forward to produce sugar and help develop this part of Jamaica,” he said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Member of Parliament for neighbouring South East Clarendon, Ruddy Spencer.
“I want to congratulate Complant for their sincerity of purpose. What I have seen shows the level of commitment and dedication this company has in making that dream (to boost sugar output) a reality,” he said.