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The Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) is projecting a 10 per cent increase in the 2006/07 sugar crop over last season’s, with 109,000 tonnes of sugar to be produced.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the SCJ, Dr. Richard Harrison, in his remarks at the official launch of the 2006/07 crop yesterday (Dec. 6) on the grounds of the Frome Sugar Factory in Westmoreland, noted that the increase in production was based on the output projections of the factories, which he said, were very realistic.
Frome, he said, was projected to produce 46,500 tonnes of sugar from 570,000 tonnes of cane from the crop season December 7 to May 11, while the Monymusk Factory in Clarendon was expected to deliver 19,000 tonnes of sugar from 214,100 tonnes of cane, from January 10 to May 16.
Bernard Lodge in St. Catherine, he said further, was expected to produce 20,000 tonnes of sugar from 246,000 tonnes of cane for the crop period January 8, to May 28; the St. Thomas Factory was expected to produce 11,000 tonnes of sugar from 160,000 tonnes of cane from January 8 to July 28; and Long Pond in Trelawny, should produce 12,500 tonnes of sugar from 165,000 tonnes of cane from January 8 to July 16.
Dr. Harrison noted that the improved farming practices and maintenance programmes being put in place, should lead to further increases for the 2007/2008 crop season.
Me anwhile, Agriculture and Lands Minister, Roger Clarke, expressed optimism about the future of the industry, noting that government was working for the survival of the sugar sector.
“I must report to you today, that what is happening at this point in time, is that the government and the opposition, we are working together as one to make sure that we chart a path that can have a successful sugar industry”, he stated.
He said that a meeting was planned for next week between government and opposition members, along with the chairman of the SCJ, to discuss in detail, the future of the sugar industry. The meeting, he noted, was as the first step in ensuring bi-partisan consensus on what needed to be done to move the sector forward.
The Agriculture Minister lauded the commitment of the sugar workers and made a plea for the cessation of the illicit burning of cane and an improvement in agricultural practices within the industry, while reiterating that privatization of the sector was not being considered at this point in time.