Cane farmers expect bumper crop in 2017
Cane farmers in Trelawny are optimistic that their 50,000 tons of cane will be reaped in the 2017 crop, despite the closure of Long Pond Sugar Factory which is owned by Everglades Farm.
Chairman of the All Island Cane Farmers Association, Allan Rickards, told Western Focus, at a Harvesting Committee meeting that it was confirmed that a $50 million subsidy from the Government of Jamaica, is now in place.
"Worthy Park and Appleton Estates are going to receive the farmers' cane, with the majority going to Appleton," Rickards said.
He said a cane-cutting force is being put in place to conduct reaping when it is due.
"Appleton is encouraging in their relationship with the farmers as they have decided to provide an extra amount of trucks," he said.
"The Harvesting Committee now has to ensure that its part of the agreement is met. They have to make sure that the schedule is adhered to and mature cane is delivered," he added.
Despite the optimism for the 2017 crop, Rickards said it was difficult to see Government continuing a subsidy if Long Pond remains non-operational.
"We have to think of alternative uses for sugar cane. Plans to manufacture cane juice on a large scale and fertiliser from bagasse are alternatives being pursued," Rickards said.