Sun | Jan 22, 2017

Cane farmers urge gov't to stick to its guns on sugar import

Published:Friday | November 7, 2014 | 6:19 PM

The All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers’ Association is urging the Government not to reverse its decision to have the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) as Jamaica’s sole importer of refined sugar.



The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) has complained that the decision has very serious implications for the approximately 100 manufacturers registered as refined sugar users and could lead to some of them leaving Jamaica.



However, Chairman of the cane farmers’ association, Allan Rickards, is congratulating the agriculture minister, Derrick Kellier, on the move, saying others have lacked the political will to do the right thing.



Rickards says those who attempt to overturn this decision will encounter the wrath of the entire Sugar Industry and its dependents.



According to him, all the new measure will ensure is that refined sugar is no longer imported duty-free into the country to compete unfairly with local sugar.



The agriculture ministry says the move to have the SIA as the sole importer of refined sugar will stem revenue leak under the current system, where duty-free imported sugar, intended for the manufacturing sector, finds its way into the retail trade.



Rickards says it has been clear for some time that there had been significant abuse of the existing regime of refined sugar importation and it has cost the country billions.



He says the country should not be held to ransom by a few manufacturers.



The JMA has asked for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the Agriculture and Industry ministers to discuss their concerns about the new import regime.



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