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Jamaica hunting new sugar deal for next year - JCPS

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMMark Titus
Karl James, general manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales.

Western Bureau:

Jamaica Cane Product Sales (JCPS), the marketing arm of the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA), is presently in talks with several international sugar refineries in a bid to secure a supply deal for the crop year 2016-2017.

Jamaica is presently in the final year of a three-year deal with British firm Tate & Lyle, which is valued at US$896 per ton in the first year, US$786 in the second year; and US$770 in the final year, for 50 to 60 tons in each of the years outlined.

"Yes, we are in discussion with a few firms, including Tate & Lyle," Karl James, general manager of JCPS, told The Gleaner yesterday. "However, we will certainly not be getting that sort of price the next time around. But, we are going after the best deal we can get, in the interest of our farmers and manufacturers."

The Gleaner understands that the JCPS met with Tate & Lyle last week and was scheduled to have further discussions with the firm over the coming days. James also confirmed that negotiations with the UK-based ED&F Man, a global player in the purchase of raw sugar, was on the cards.

Reforms to the European Union's (EU) common agricultural policy in March 2013 will result in the abolition of sugar quotas come 2017, which will bring an end to the preferential treatment that African, Caribbean and Pacific sugar producers have been enjoying since 1975.

The end date for the EU deal was initially set for 2015, but an extension of two years was granted in a split decision among member states after some countries sought additional time for the sector to adjust.

Under the new regime, it will mean greater competition for Jamaica from lower-cost producers, but Jamaica and the other active sugar-producing nations in the region - Belize, Guyana, and Barbados - have set their sights on the underserved Caribbean market.

"We are also looking seriously at the Caribbean market, and, in my other capacity as head of the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC), it is going to be an area of stronger focus from 2015 onwards," stated James, who became SAC boss earlier this year. "We are trying to work out a formula to ensure that we can supply the market on a constant basis."

Jamaica has one remaining shipment of 24,000 tonnes of sugar to complete the current arrangement with Tate & Lyle.