The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has set aside approximately $1billion for the continued development of the sugar industry.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday August 4 at the Ministry, Hope Road, Kingston, portfolio minister, Hon Robert Montague, said that the money is in addition to the $523 million already budgeted, and will be made available, up to 2015/2016, to support the expansion and modernization of the industry.
He said that the move forms part of Government's efforts to boost overall productivity in the agricultural sector.
The Cane Expansion Fund, which is administered by the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA), focuses on improving the cane farms’ infrastructure, particularly irrigation and drainage, in keeping with the Ministry’s vision of expanded sugarcane production.
Mr. Montague said the Ministry will also be implementing the recommendations of the Sugar Industry Commission, chaired by Professor Alvin Wint, which addressed reshaping the institutional, regulatory and marketing arrangements within the industry, given the new market realities in Europe and privatization in Jamaica.
He said it is significant that the Commission has recommended the preservation of the SIA. The Sugar Industry Control Act, which gave birth to the SIA, made provisions for the non centralization of the marketing of sugar, through a licensing regime.
“In principle, therefore, individual manufacturers can market their own sugar, under license from the SIA, providing they subscribe to the uniform cane payment system,” he noted.