JIS News

The Government is pressing on with its sugar transformation programme, to address the social, economic and environmental impact of the divestment process on the sugar workers.
So far, the Sugar Transformation Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has registered approximately 85 per cent of the displaced workers, who will be entitled to a grant to assist in starting economic enterprises, including cane farming.
“Additionally, all the social amenities, such as clinics, basic schools and sporting facilities will be supported by the programme, to ensure that displaced workers are no worse off,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said during his contribution to the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday (July 15).
The unit has also identified lands in St. Thomas to undertake a reforestation programme.
In the 2009/10 Estimates of Expenditure, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries stated that the overall goal of the sugar transformation project is to achieve an effective transition of the industry to a sustainable sugar cane sector by 2015.
The three strategic objectives under the transformation project are: to develop a sustainable private sector led sugar cane industry by 2015; strengthen the economic diversification, social resilience and environmental sustainability of sugar-dependent areas; and to maintain progress towards macro-economic goals.
There are five physical targets for the sugar transformation project in this financial year: development of an administrative system; preparation of key studies, such as individual assessment and training of displaced sugar workers; capacity building for the Government of Jamaica; and the Sugar Area Development Programme, which will oversee disbursement of redundancy to former employees of the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ).
The Sugar Transformation Project is funded by the Government and the European Union.

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