A new board of the Sugar Industry Authority is expected to be appointed before month end.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green signalled that the first order of business for the new board will be to lead a review of the SIA.
“Discussions have started under the previous Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, so I expect within weeks we can pull together all the entities concerned for us to craft the best role of the SIA in this new phase of sugar,” he said.
The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the 83rd annual conference of the Jamaica Association of Sugar Technologists (JAST), at the SIA conference centre in Mandeville on November 5.
It was held under the theme, ‘Jamaica’s Sugar Industry—Facing a New Phase’.
The SIA, which was created in 1970, was vested with the powers to regulate and control the over 300-year-old sugar industry and included functions of arbitration, planning, research and development and monitoring and overseeing the marketing of sugar and molasses.
Meanwhile, Mr. Green noted that the role of the SIA in the new phase of sugar will be the utilization of more science and technology to propel the sugar industry forward.
The Minister reiterated that the government stands ready to facilitate a private sector-lead industry, which can stand on its own without Government intervention.
The strategy being proposed is the enlisting of new entrepreneurs with innovative ideas who will be able to resurrect the sector and diversify the production of products that can be obtained from sugar cane.
The Minister also used the opportunity to mention that sugar lands are being diversified to grow other produce and that a programme has been under taken by the HEART/NSTA Trust in conjunction with the Ministry to give training to former sugar workers in areas such as cosmetology.