Sugar Transformation Programme spends $109m in St Elizabeth

Monday, March 10, 2014    

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries says $109m is being spent on the improvement of schools, health facilities, rural roads and water supply systems in St Elizabeth through the Sugar Transformation Programme.

A ministry release reported Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke telling his audience at the recent opening of the newly renovated Appleton Basic School about several projects being undertaken by the ministry in sugar-dependent communities across St Elizabeth. They include rehabilitation and upgrading of sports facilities at Elim and repair of over seven kilometres of cane roads.

Clarke said that an additional $4.6m will be spent on another two basic schools and approximately $17m on primary/preparatory schools within the parish. Also, during the last sugar cane crop over 171 cane farmers in St Elizabeth received loans amounting to $86.7m to plant over 564 hectares of cane through the Cane Expansion Fund, the minister said.

"We have been able not only to improve the conditions in the sugar sector, but indeed to improve the lives of people who reside in communities like Siloah and other sugar-dependent communities," he said.

Built in 1976, Appleton Basic School was renovated and extended to include two new classrooms, three bathrooms, a state-of-the-art computer room, perimeter fencing and extension of the principal's office, providing accommodation for an additional 20 students.

Through funding from the European Union, some $2.4b will be spent over the next three years on social programmes to improve sugar-dependent communities across Jamaica. This is in addition to $900m disbursed to vulnerable sugar workers and small cane farmers to cushion the effect of the fallout from divestment of public sector sugar estates, the release said.

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