Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
THE 2012-2013 crop year was not as sweet as some stakeholders initially believed as now that the figures have been tabulated, only 128,196 tonnes of sugar was produced from the 1.4 million tonnes of cane reaped - almost 10,000 tonnes short of the 138,000 tonnes projected.
Last year, 131,455 tonnes of sugar was produced from the 1.47 million tonnes of cane that was reaped.
"It was a disappointing year for the industry due mainly to the amount of cane that was available for reaping," said Ambassador Derrick Heaven, executive chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA).
The performance of the factories operated by Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC), Frome and Monymusk continues to be a major area of concern for the SIA.
The PCSC-controlled Frome Estate, which had its worse performance last year under the management of former boss, Francis He, did slightly better this year, producing 36,700 tonnes of sugar, which is a mere two tonnes more than last year's figure.
Frome's sister company, Monymusk, the star of the 2010-2011 crop year when it produced 29,000 tonnes, had a mediocre year, producing a disappointing 18,501 tonnes from 221,017 tonnes of cane produced.
However, with the Government indicating its intention to assist the Chinese producers in maximising its potential, and with a new CEO at the helm, Heaven is hopeful that there will be a big turn-around in the next crop year.
The Trelawny-based Long Pond estate, which was out of production in the 2010-2011 season, and had to pump millions of dollars to correct the challenges at the factory, has raised the expectations of the players in the industry, with an output of 6,674 tonnes from 72,625 tonnes of cane from 95 days of production.
"It was heartening to see the improvements at Long Pond and one anticipates that with the amount of cane planted on that sugar belt, the coming season could be a special one for the Husseys," Allan Rickards, chairman of the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association told The Gleaner.