JIS News

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, has welcomed the $1.3 billion in budgetary support being provided by the European Union (EU) for the sugar industry.
The grant was officially handed over to Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, at Jamaica House Thursday (August 26), as part of a $4 billion disbursement, the major portion of which will go towards the Debt Reduction and Growth Enhancement Programme.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr. Stanberry said the EU has been a reliable partner for the Ministry in the execution of its Sugar Adaptation Strategy.
“Under that programme, we have so far received from the EU approximately $2.8 billion, and the government has spent an overall $3.41 billion to support the privatisation of the sugar industry.a few weeks ago we cleared the last hurdle, when Complan took over the last three public estates,” he stated.
Mr. Stanberry said that with these resources, the government has also paid out all the redundancy monies due to sugar workers, and has spent substantial amounts to support vulnerable, displaced sugar workers.
“This year alone we are going to support some 3,600 of those workers with grants of between $150, 000 and $170,000, and significantly we are putting in quite a bit of resources in expansion of sugar cane production, because every model for the sugar industry- be it in public or private hands- indicates that if sugar is going to be viable in Jamaica, we will have to at least double sugar cane production in order to get the throughput for viability,” he outlined.
He said that the transitional stage of the strategy has been completed, and the Ministry was now moving on to the transformation phase.
Jamaica is slated to receive a total of 82 million pound to support the implementation of the Sugar Adaptation Strategy, 38 per cent of which is earmarked for macro-economic assistance through general budget support, and the remainder for sector budget support. The funds are disbursed directly into the Consolidated Fund, against the achievement of specific targets agreed with the government in annual financing agreements.
So far, the government has: divested the five public sugar estates to the private sector; introduced a local market for ethanol; and launched a programme to re-house workers who previously lived in estate barracks, as well as provide small grants for workers who were made redundant.
The sugar sector budget support programme was slated for 2006 to 2010, but Cabinet has approved an extension up to 2013.

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