Los productores de caña de Barbados quieren conocer los planes del gobierno para el sector
CANE farmers in Barbados are looking forward to Government’s plans to deal with the industry, according to an official. He said yesterday that since financing is a major issue for what has to be done, then “farmers will want to hear more on the way forward”.
“Every year we are producing less and less sugar and we have to act in a hurry if we are to ensure that sugar production does not fall any further,” said the industry official. Farmers have also been calling for some kind of support from government given the increasing cost of production and the decline in the price which Europe pays for sugar from developing countries.
In addition, rum producers are hoping to source more local molasses to be used in the production of rum, so as to reduce the imported contents in their products. “If they do not have a higher local content, then they are unable to claim special privileges in the export market,” the official explained.
On Monday, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, said that government intends meeting with farmers to thrash out some of the issues on the way forward for the sector. He stated that there is to be a restructuring of the industry and according to him, the restructuring programme – which should have been undertaken in the industry before – now falls on the present administration to implement.
Sugar production in Barbados is down to about 22 000 to 23 000 tonnes. Government has said that it will be pursuing a one factory model once Andrews Sugar Factory is refurbished and Portvale closed. Molasses, special sugars and electricity are some of the products which the single factory will be producing. A study undertaken by Landell Mills has revealed that there is need for a complete overhaul of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (which is owned by Government).
The study said that $272 million is required to carry out the complete reform of that institution, which was set up in the early 1990s to manage estates indebted to government.