A PROPOSAL has been made to the Government for the construction of a new sugar factory in Trelawny.
Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke, says that the proposal came out of discussions between the All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association (AIJCFA) and two American companies Arkel Sugar Inc. and Inter-American Transport and Equipment. He pointed out that that proposal has been presented to the Minister of Finance and Planning and the Prime Minister.
"What the Prime Minister has instructed is that the whole proposal be presented to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and we hope to do that some time this week. What the plan calls for is a new modern plant in Trelawny, and the laying out of the sugar cane fields, beginning at Hampden, in a way that is conducive to mechanical harvesting and proper irrigation systems," the Minister said.
He said that the proposal also envisaged a sugar refinery, which would facilitate the production of refined sugar locally. This would replace the present practice of importing up to 70,000 tons of refined sugar annually.
Mr. Clarke explained that the proposed factory would provide value added products and other spin-offs, such as a co-generation system to cut down the cost of production and to make electricity available for sale to the Jamaica Public Service Company.
"What they are proposing would be ideal as far as sugar production is concerned, so I see in another week or so the presentation being made to the PIOJ, because the PIOJ has to look at funding and the economic viability of the project," the Minister said.
Mr. Clarke argued that if the factory became a reality, this would be pointing the way forward as far as the modernisation of the sugar industry is concerned. He said it would be the prototype of what is needed for the future.