JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister Clarke is optimistic that the range of investments in the sugar industry, over the past few years, should soon result in a significant turnaround in the sector.
  • Minister Clarke said major support continues to flow to the industry from the European Union.
  • However, he said Jamaica still needs to find an inexpensive way to produce sugar in order to remain competitive globally.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke is optimistic that the range of investments in the sugar industry, over the past few years, should soon result in a significant turnaround in the sector.

In an interview with JIS News, Minister Clarke said major support continues to flow to the industry from the European Union, and that with the privatisation of a number of sugar factories, there have been major investments.

He said the prospects for profitability remains high. “What we expect from those developments includes a re-tooling of the plants, efficiency in re-planting, reaping and processing which should result in increased production and productivity,” Minister Clarke said.

However, he said Jamaica still needs to find an inexpensive way to produce sugar in order to remain competitive globally.

Turning to the current sugar crop, Minister Clarke noted that production and productivity was affected by inconsistencies in rainfall.

He disclosed that, “we are going to end up producing approximately 20,000 more tonnes of sugar than we did last year. If the weather conditions were more favourable, we could have produced 30,000 tonnes more. We are moving in the right direction, which is being driven by an expansion in the number of cane farmers and continued investments”.

Information from Jamaica Cane Products indicates that Jamaica produced some 128,196 tonnes of sugar last year.

The Agriculture Minister said the way forward for the local industry must include the expansion of cane farms and farmers, improvements in the varieties of the cane being planted, and heavy investments in the technologies associated with sugar cane reaping and production at the factories.