Sweet smiles - JCPS confident that supply will meet demand locally and overseas
Major Hugh Baker, the general manager of Jamaica Cane Product Sales (JCPS), is expressing confidence that there is sufficient sugar available to satisfy the local market and meet its supply obligations to the overseas markets.
Jamaica's main sugar buyer, the United Kingdom-based sugar refiner Tate & Lyle, had to do without 24,000 of the 48,000 tonnes supply arrangement with JCPS last year because of a problem-plagued 2016-17 crop year.
An arrangement is now in place for that to be made up through the delivery of 16,000 tonnes of sugar at scheduled intervals between this year and next year, and Baker is upbeat.
"With the rainfall that we have had this year, the cane is turning out to be a little better than anticipated, so places like Appleton and Worthy Park are doing a little better than projected, and we expect Monymusk to be doing 13,000 to 14,000 tonnes," said Baker, who took over from Karl James at the start of the year.
"The juice quality is not all that great, but we have been getting more cane than expected, so we should get to the projected 100,000 tonnes mark," added the JCPS boss.
SUPPLY SET FOR SHIPMENT
According to Baker, the agreed first shipment of 16,000 tonnes for Tate & Lyle will be sent off by the third week of this month, and that should not affect supply to Jamaicans.
"There is no shortage of supply for the local market. The local market is expected to purchase between 49,000 and 50,000 tonnes of the sugar that is available on the market," said Baker.
The JCPS previously handled all sugar exports, but now it shares marketing agent status with Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, the owner of Bernard Lodge, Monymusk, and Frome sugar estates, as well as the Seprod group, which operates the Golden Grove Sugar Factory in St Thomas.
According to the latest daily factory report issued by the Sugar Industry Authority last Monday, 53,486 tonnes of sugar have been produced from 642,634 tonnes of cane by the five factories now operating.
Sugar factories production so far for this crop
- Monymusk Sugar Factory in Clarendon, which was the last to start operation on March 7, has realised 2,494 tonnes from 31,888 tonnes of cane so far.
- Worthy Park is on track with 12,439 tonnes from 115,838 tonnes of cane.
- Appleton has so far churned out 11,269 tonnes from 161,967 tonnes of cane.
- Golden Grove has done 7,081 tonnes of sugar from 91,039 tonnes of cane.
- Frome Sugar Estate in Westmoreland is poised to become the top performer, already churning out 20,203 tonnes of sugar from 241,902 tonnes of cane.
Last year, Jamaica produced 82,855 tonnes of sugar from 1.12 million tonnes of cane reaped.