Key players in the local sugar sector are slated to engage in a critical meeting tomorrow with Huaixiang Wu, chief executive officer of the Chinese-owned Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, to discuss a number of issues affecting production along the Westmoreland/Hanover sugar belt.
The Gleaner understands that the meeting, which will be held at the Frome Sugar Factory, was requested by Wu and will see Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke; his permanent secretary, Donovan Stanberry; Allan Rickards, chairman of the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers' Association; the executive of Westmoreland/Hanover Sugar Cane Growers' Association (W/HSCGA); and Westmoreland's custos, Canon Hartley Perrin, in attendance.
"Yes, there is a meeting slated for Friday, but all I can tell you at this time is that the management of the cane farmers' group will be making a presentation on the way forward," said Cleveland Keddo, chairman of the W/HSCGA.
"There are some critical things that need to be addressed ahead of the 2013-2014 crop year … . We are somewhat confident of a positive outcome as the new CEO (Wu) is different and is prepared to listen."
Topping the list of matters expected to be discussed is the decision by the Chinese company to terminate the credit-support facility normally offered for sugar-cane suppliers to purchase fertilisers and other items to prepare for each new crop year.