Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Appleton rebounds for 2017 sugar crop

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2017 | 5:17 PM
Appleton Estate in St Elizabeth, home of J. Wray & Nephew rum distillery.

J. Wray and Nephew Limited is reporting impressive returns for the 2017 sugar cane crop, despite the extension of harvesting to July, following the suspension of operations all of last year.

With a total of 300.5 tonnes of canes anticipated to be crushed, from its own crop as well as that of third-party cane farmers, it is projected that all targets for 2017 will still be met.

 “Thus far 70 per cent of the cane has been harvested in St Elizabeth and 40 per cent in Clarendon. And projections for the year are on track, in spite of the challenges from several illicit cane fires and the recent excessive rainfall,” chairman Clement ‘Jimmy Clement told The Gleaner. He explained that with a substantial portion of the cane being left over from 2106, this has negatively impacted the ratio of cane used to make a sugar.

 “The processing of stand-over cane will cause a reduced efficiency of processing tonnes of cane into tonnes of sugar (TCTS) at a ratio of 14.75 tonnes of cane required by each ton of sugar.  The industry standard is between 12 tonnes of cane or less.  That is almost a 20 per cent efficiency impact,” the chairman admitted.

Operations at the Appleton Estate resumed after the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) approved the closed loop cane wash water treatment system for water used in factory operations.

Lawrence pointed to the significance of this US$1.2 million investment in this best-in-class global system, which is a first for Jamaica.

 “This means that we take a limited amount of water from the Black River but do not discharge any effluent. Instead, we treat and reuse the water in our factory operations and this reflects an additional value to the current environmental assets.”

 

Economic revival for sugar-dependent economies

The resumption of operations at Appleton Estate has resulted in an economic revival for the sugar-dependent communities in the area. The livelihoods of numerous persons connected to the industry including third-party cane farmers, haulage contractors and small business operators are also getting back to normal.

J. Wray and Nephew, as well as its parent company, Gruppo Campari, is well aware and mindful of the far-reaching trickle down socio-economic impact of its agricultural operations which is seen as a strategic component of the Appleton Brand story.

“Given this, the agricultural operations will continue to feature in our business,” Lawrence assured. “Gruppo Campari has continued to invest heavily in the Jamaican operations post acquisition in 2012. We are currently in the final stretch of the renovation of the Appleton Estate Rum Tour and are looking forward to welcoming more visitors to the home of Appleton in January 2018.”