Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Life would be better with sugar cane

Published:Thursday | November 3, 2016 | 11:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Life will not be the same without the sugar same. Indeed it is not!

In 1972 Jamaica produced 500,000 tons of sugar. In 2016 we produced 83,000 tons. The courts closed Appleton Factory because of a fish kill. That cost us 25,000 tons of sugar and bankrupted many cane farmers. Was there no other way? Where was NEPA? No sugar, no molasses, no rum, foreign exchange lost.

As the Jamaican dollar gallops toward J$200.00 to US$1.00 people have dollarized their savings and business activities in acts of self-preservation. The government is lagging behind.

How can Jamaica rescue the sugar industry? The cost of transporting sugarcane to distant factories is the greatest inhibitor. We could make all toll roads free for trucks carrying sugar cane. The government could consider paying for statutory deductions for the sugar industry: NIS, NHT, HEART and Education Tax. Many countries around the world pay to establish new industries and to resuscitate old ones. It would be Haves paying for the Have nots.

Jamaica should commence refining white sugar and thereafter ban white sugar imports. If we can consider smelting aluminium, surely we can make white sugar. Do remember that sugar does not suffer from praedial larceny and stormy weather as other crops do.

Remember too, we do not educate our children to become sugar cane cutters. Let us therefore properly reward those who chose to toil in the fields for our benefit. Life would be better with the sugar cane.

Keith Hobbins

khobbins@cwjamaica.com