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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said the increased interest in ethanol as an alternative source of energy provides significant opportunities for the viability of the local sugar industry and will serve as an important plank in the privatization of sugar assets. Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking today (Aug. 9) at the official opening of a US$20 Million ethanol plant built by Jamaica Broilers Ltd. at Port Esquivel in St. Catherine.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said efficient energy use and finding affordable sources of alternative energy must be addressed if developing countries are to increase productivity and compete in the global marketplace.
She said Jamaica was far too dependent on imported oil with the country’s oil bill for 2006 amounting to over US$1.7 Billion. She said the government will seek to develop alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners to find alternative sources of energy which are cost effective and environmentally friendly.
She said the Jamaica Broilers ethanol plant which was built with support from Brazil, underscores the commitment of both Jamaica and Brazil to deepen bilateral relations and develop mutually beneficial links which can broaden the economic base of both countries.
In congratulating the Jamaica Broilers Group Ltd, the Prime Minister stressed that construction of the ethanol plant is a fitting example of what can be achieved by the private sector companies when they take full advantage of enlightened government policies.
“This kind of bold entrepreneurial spirit is an example of what private sector companies can achieve if they take full advantage of the favourable business environment that has been created by enlightened government policies,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
In his remarks, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ daSilva said the opening of the ethanol plant symbolizes the commitment of both countries to move into the energy revolution of the 21st Century. He said bio-fuel was cheap and clean to produce and has significant potential for job creation and value-added in the agriculture sector. He said Jamaica has an advantage in the production of ethanol based on its production of sugar cane and skilled workforce.
The Jamaica Broilers Ethanol Plant represents the single largest investment in the ethanol industry. The plant has a capacity of sixty million gallons per year of fuel grade ethanol. The project is the second investment undertaken by the Jamaica Broilers Group in the country’s energy sector, the first being the acquisition of a Co-Generation facility at its Spring Village processing plant.