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Agri ministry alarmed at Westmoreland cane fires, 39,000 tonnes affected

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2016 | 2:30 AM

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries says it is alarmed at reports emerging from Westmoreland of a spate of cane fires at Frome over the weekend which reportedly affected some 39,000 tonnes of sugar cane.

Another set of fires yesterday affected another 4,000 tonnes of cane.  

The ministry says the fires will result in considerable economic loss to farmers and the wider Frome community which depends on the sugar cane industry for its economic survival.

The Agriculture Ministry has been working through the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) and the Sugar Company of Jamaica Holdings (SCJ Holdings) to sensitise the persons in Westmoreland about the value of the sugar industry to that parish and the country and the grave danger of engaging in illicit fires.

As a result, it says it is particularly disappointed with the illegal activities in recent days.

Cane farmers are already struggling to complete the 2016 crop successfully, given the delay in the opening of the Appleton factory.

The ministry is appealing the persons responsible for setting the blaze to cease and desist.

It is also urging residents in the affected areas to exercise maximum vigilance to assist in halting these illegal cane fires.