Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon Karl Samuda, is encouraging everyone to get involved in the sugar industry, adding that many people depend on it as a source of livelihood as well as it offers many opportunities for educating the youngsters.
Minister Samuda was speaking following a tour of the Worthy Park Estate in Lluidas Vale, St. Catherine, on Wednesday, February 15, where he commended the management and staff for their commitment to the sugar industry. He noted that the cane fields were in excellent shape and that this was further evidence that the industry was heading towards reaping a bumper crop.
“I feel a renewed sense of commitment and anyone who harbours any doubts about the sugar industry, just forget them and get involved,” the agriculture minister urged, while noting that the sugar industry plays a vital role in the country’s growth and development.
He had high praises for the management, which he described as first class, while noting that the recently constructed packaging facility was state of the art that offers a high level of competition not only in our region, but in the world.
Senior Managing Director of Worthy Park Estate, Robert Clarke, explained that the factory has the capacity to produce 28,000 tonnes of sugar. In addition, approximately 260,000 tonnes of sugar cane is ground annually, about 55% of which comes from estate-owned lands and the rest from farmers from far away as Kellits in Clarendon to the south of Spanish Town.
Mr. Clarke attributed the estate’s success to the fact that they do not skimp on maintenance, but ensure that it is carried out in their out-of-cropping period so that when the crop starts they don’t have to stop because of breakdown and other issues.
“We have been able to maintain over the years over 90% time accounting and also our recovery production figures are also right up there,” said Mr. Clarke.
With regard to the illicit burning of sugar cane, Minister Samuda said the practice was more prevalent in Frome. He implored the workers that, notwithstanding that they may be impatient to have the cane burnt so that they can get work; they should be patient and allow the factory to go through its normal processes so that things are done in a timely manner.
“I am very hopeful that we will see less illicit burning of cane because it places too much pressure on the factory to try and reap the cane within 72 hours,” said Minister Samuda, adding that the industry could not afford to lose any production this year.
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