Shaw discusses Appleton closure with industry stakeholders

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Shaw discusses Appleton closure with industry stakeholders

Friday, August 14, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, has commended the management of Appleton Estate for the plans that the company has developed to ensure a smooth and amicable transitioning of former sugar cane workers and farmers with the closure of the factory.

J Wray & Nephew Limited last month confirmed that it would cease operating its Appleton Estates Sugar Factory in St Elizabeth due to heavy losses incurred over the last decade.

“We must work together to promote and preserve the interest of all stakeholders,” Shaw said, while assuring the stakeholders of Government's continued support to the industry.

The agriculture minister was addressing participants in a virtual meeting organised by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries on Wednesday to discuss issues relating to the factory's closure as well as to plan the way forward.

Shaw also expressed appreciation to the management of Pan Caribbean Sugar Company and Worthy Park Estate for agreeing to facilitate the processing of sugar cane in the upcoming season from the farmers in St Elizabeth and Clarendon, respectively.

Among the issues discussed with the high-level representatives from the All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association, trade unionists from the NWU, UAWU and the BITU, and representatives of Appleton Estates, Pan Caribbean Sugar Company and Worthy Park Estate, was the provision of subsidy for transportation of cane to the factories.

The government also gave a commitment to Appleton Estates to provide support for the regularisation of lands currently occupied by farmers and workers.

Going forward, the SCJ Holdings, in partnership with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, is to determine the infrastructural requirements for lands to be allocated for farming of alternative crops.

The ministry said other follow-up actions include finalisation of agreements for processing of sugar cane between Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, Worthy Park Estate and Appleton Estates, the divestment of sugar cane growing operations in St Elizabeth and Clarendon to a group of former senior managers and the handling of sugar sales quotas via the Sugar Industry Authority between marketing agents.

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