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$800m road-repair programme planned for six parishes

Published:Saturday | July 11, 2015 | 9:29 AM

Some 80 kilometres of cane roads in the island’s six sugar-producing parishes are to be refurbished this financial year at a cost of $800 million.

The works, being funded by the European Union (EU) through the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU), are to be undertaken in St Thomas, St Catherine, Clarendon, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and Trelawny.

Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, says the move is part of the Government’s push to boost productivity and bring back the competitive edge to the island’s sugar industry.

He was speaking this week at the contract signing and ground breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation of 8.1 kilometres of roads from Braes River to Elim in North East St Elizabeth at a cost of $89.1 million.

Kellier says several other contracts are ready to be signed for the other projects.

Meanwhile, Kellier says the industry is facing the prospect of a 40 per cent reduction in sugar prices on the EU market resulting from a regime change.

However, he says despite the challenges, the Government will continue to put measures in place to ensure the sustainability of the sugar industry, which is the largest single employer of labour and a major contributor to other economic variables.