Gov’t commits additional $200 million to help sugar cane farmers
The Government is providing an additional $200 million for the transportation of sugar cane from Monymusk in Clarendon to the Worthy Park Estate in St Catherine and Appleton Estate in St Elizabeth for the 2019/2020 crop season.
The assurance came from Minister of Agriculture, Audley Shaw, in a speech delivered on his behalf by Senior Director in the Ministry’s Strategic Planning Division, Delroy Coley, at the 70th Annual General Meeting of the All-Island Cane Farmers’ Association held at the Denbigh Showground in May Pen on Wednesday.
The support is part of short-term interventions to assist the small farmers from St. Catherine and Clarendon who operate in the Monymusk area.
A similar sum was provided for the 2018/19 crop.
“In addition to that, the Government has also identified other areas of assistance for our sugar-cane farmers, including fertiliser, which will be provided to the All-Island Cane Farmers’ Association to boost your revolving loan scheme for input supplies to members,” Shaw said.
He said that the matter of irrigation is also being addressed.
“We are doing all of this in order to facilitate the planting of cane, because the factories need your cane,” Shaw added.
He said that despite the challenges facing the sector, including factory closures, the sugar industry, in 2018, contributed some 0.5 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP); earned/saved some US$57 million in foreign exchange; and accounted for some 20,000 direct jobs and 80,000 indirectly, or some 7.7 per cent of the active labour force.
He said that the industry still has an important role to play in the nation’s business, and neither the Government nor the various other stakeholders can “simply abandon sugar. We want to see it succeed”.