Gov't provides $200 million to assist St Thomas cane farmers


Gov't provides $200 million to assist St Thomas cane farmers

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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THE Government will be providing $200 million to assist sugar cane farmers in St Thomas who have been negatively affected by the closure of the Golden Grove Sugar Factory.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw made the announcement during a meeting with the farmers at the factory located in Duckenfield on Friday.

“We started out by asking for $50 million to help you, then we went up to $80 million. Well, I am telling you today that I have gotten approval now for $200 million to start helping in the process here,” he said.

Minister Shaw said the funds are to be used for the planting of new crops, given that the demand for sugar cane has decreased.

“That $200 million is going to go into the ground, because handing out money just to carry you through next week and next month will not solve the problem,” he said.

“Importantly, the majority of that $200 million is going to be used to assist you to start planting other things. It will come in the form of inputs, fertilisers, seeds and animals,” he added.

Minister Shaw said cane cutters who are not farmers will benefit from the support as well.

Meanwhile, he has encouraged farmers who need land for planting to come forward.

He advised them to present their plans to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, which will share those plans with the ministry.

“Help is coming, and it's coming fast; it's coming next month,” Shaw said.

The Golden Grove Sugar Factory was closed in 2019 by manufacturing company Seprod, which took over the business in 2009 with the hope of reviving the ailing sugar operation.

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