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Agriculture Ministry looking at possible solution to Appleton Estate crisis

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2016 | 2:05 PM

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Donovan Stanberry, says the ministry is looking at alternative sites for the processing of sugarcanes which were to be sent to the Appleton Sugar Estate in St Elizabeth.

Operations at the sugar estate have been put on hold following the injunction obtained by fish farm operator Algix Jamaica.

The factory was slated to open three weeks ago.

The move has sparked protests by concerned cane farmers who say their livelihoods will be affected the longer the situation drags on.

The All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association has asserted that even the slightest delay to the crop year at Appleton could mean disaster for the entire sugar industry.

Stanberry  says the agriculture ministry shares the concerns of players in the industry about the situation at Appleton.

He says the ministry is looking at ways in which it can give assistance to cane farmers.

The agriculture ministry permanent secretary says the Sugar Industry Authority has been engaging cane farmers and other stakeholder to find alternatives to get crop production going.

However, Stanberry points out that the ministry’s intervention is limited based on the ruling of the court against the owners of the sugar estate.