Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Time for Caribbean to supply own sugar - ISO

Published:Friday | December 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Executive Director of the International Sugar Organisation, Jose Orive
Representatives from member countries of the International Sugar Organisation

The International Sugar Organisation (ISO) met in London, England last week for its annual conference on the global sugar sector. Among the reports adopted at the conference, was a report by the ISO secretariat entitled: The Caribbean Sugar Industry: Key Drivers and Outlook.

Talking about the report, secretary general of the International Sugar Organisation, Jose Orive, said: "CARICOM producers are now faced with a huge disruption to their traditional markets in the EU (European Union) because of long-expected EU sugar reform.

"They urgently need to refocus on supplying domestic and regional markets in the Caribbean, whilst working on their productivity and pursuing green energy generation, such as ethanol production and cogeneration. Laser-focused implementation of national strategies for industry adaptation are paramount if the industry is to prosper again in the future."

Sugar Association of the Caribbean chairman, R. Karl James responded: "Caribbean sugar producers across the region are successfully moving up the value chain to produce sugars which can be used directly by consumers and manufacturers.

White sugar suitable for 98 per cent of all uses can now be produced within the region. National strategies are in place for all of the key sugar industries.


Understanding supply requirements


"We are now actively speaking with our local manufacturers who buy their sugar internationally to understand and meet their supply requirements through regional sugar production. The regional industry in 2017 produced 417,000 tonnes of sugar, far more than the estimated demand of 320,000 tonnes in the region."

He added, "It seems crazy that the region is importing sugar from places like Colombia or Mexico, which we can supply at home or right next door.

"Sugar can be a tremendous force for good helping manufacturers to support the local economy and local jobs by sourcing their raw materials locally; helping countries cut down on their dollar import bills; and generating new, cheap, clean energy for businesses and local people".