Advertisement
JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has said that while the Government was committed to maintaining the viability of the sugar industry, there was a need for a unified stakeholder effort to sustain the industry.
He said this approach, which includes the involvement of the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ), must be based on an increase in productivity.
Mr. Clarke expressed this view while addressing a sugar industry forum hosted by the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, at the Frome Sugar Factory staff club, in Westmoreland on Wednesday (Nov. 29). The forum was held under the theme: ‘Challenges –the way forward for the industry’.
Acknowledging that there were a number of issues presently affecting the industry, Minister Clarke said that with the SCJ now directly under the control of the Ministry, the Company would have a new focus. He said that the Agriculture Ministry therefore, through the SCJ, would seek to rectify some of the challenges affecting the industry.
Mr. Clarke outlined a number of measures to be implemented, including farming practices, which he said should lead to new productivity levels. “The only way you are going to survive in sugar is through productivity. If you are in cane and doing 50 to 60 tonnes of cane per hectare, get out of it because you cannot survive,” he emphasized.
Turning to the matter of divestment, Minister Clarke stated that this was a route that the government did not intend to take, unless it was conducted differently than in the past. “Anybody coming now we want to see money in your pocket. Do not come and say that you want to invest without money. You must come with money, management, and the expertise to deal with it,” he said.
The Minister therefore stressed that any future move affecting the sugar industry must take into consideration the cane-farmers, the workers, management and the community.
Meanwhile Member of Parliament for North Central Clarendon, Pearnel Charles, agreed with the Agriculture Minister about the need for improvement in productivity, and called for a general change of attitude within the industry.