Government’s commitment to the expansion and sustainability of Jamaica’s sugar industry has been underscored by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton.
Giving the main address at the 73rd Annual Conference of the Jamaica Association of Sugar Technologist (JAST), at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Ocho Rios on Thursday (November 11), Dr. Tufton said the commitment was based on the recognition that the survival of the industry is critical to the development of the economy.
Declaring that it was in the interest of stakeholders in the industry, to make a special effort to cooperate with government’s initiatives to make it strong and successful, the minister said government’s perspective on the development of the industry continues to be its restructuring, with a private sector driven focus on efficiency, diversified markets and ensuring returns on investments.
Stating that a part of the restructuring of the industry included the divesting of sugar factories, Dr Tufton said that process will be completed over the next six months, and the agreement will make US$126 million available, in its first phase, for the expansion and upgrading of estates and factories.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (left), and Executive Chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA),Ambassador Derrick Heaven, at the 73rd Annual Conference of the Jamaica Association of Sugar Technologists (JAST) at the Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios on Thursday (November 11).
He pointed out that the restructuring process represents a significant adjustment to the industry, which has been ailing for sometime, and assured the conference that there were good reasons for optimism about its future.
Dr Tufton said the industry was still faced with challenges, and stakeholders will have to find new and better ways to drive its expansion.