Sun | Jan 21, 2018

327 tonnes of sugar cane reaped at Long Pond factory

Published:Wednesday | June 8, 2016 | 12:20 PM

The Long Pond Sugar Factory in Trelawny has produced 327 tonnes of sugar since resuming operations three weeks ago.

This follows the Government’s temporary takeover of the operations of the Clark’s Town-based factory earlier this year, beginning with repairs totalling $180 million.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda, said the intervention has “rescued the livelihood of over 230 farmers while preserving 130 jobs.”

Samuda, who was making his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on June 7, said the Government is working with the owners of the factory to find new stakeholders to invest in other revenue streams such as cogeneration and the production of ethanol.

The facility is owned by Everglades Farms Limited.

In the meantime, the Minister informed that following Cabinet approval, Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings will operate the Monymusk Sugar Factory in Clarendon for the 2016/17 crop year.

This forms part of an agreement between the Government and Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, the principals of Monymusk.

Under the agreement, SCJ Holdings is to operate the Monymusk factory free of rental in order to mill the over 150,000 tonnes of cane expected to be reaped for the crop period.

The SCJ will also manage 2,800 hectares of cane up to the end of the 2016 crop period, and has invited farmers to lease lands for one year.

“Applicants have already been shortlisted and arrangements have been made with input suppliers to extend credit to these farmers on a crop lien basis,” the Minister told the House.

“Our intervention is a holding position while Pan Caribbean engages new investors in their field operations and other streams of revenue from the sugar cane with a view to resume operations in the 2017/18 crop year,” he explained.

The programme of assistance by the Government is aimed at securing the future of the industry, which has been affected by issues such as marketing arrangements, inadequate prices for exports, as well as financial challenges among factory owners.

Between 2009 and 2010, the Government divested its holdings in Monymusk, Frome, Bernard Lodge, Trelawny and St. Thomas Estates, which constitute 70 per cent of the sugar industry.