Shaw: Talks going well with investors for Long Pond, Monymusk operations

Friday, November 16, 2018

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MINISTER of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw says progress is being made in discussions involving the Government and private investors regarding the operation of the Monymsk and Long Pond sugar factories in Clarendon and Trelawny, respectively.

He also stated that proposals and options for the processing of cane usually handled by Monymusk are being considered, while hinting that the Frome factory in Westmoreland is expected to be part of the discussions.

The minister advised that he will be making a budgetary submission to Cabinet regarding the management and operation of Monymusk for the upcoming sugar crop, which he said is certain to accept cane for processing from farmers who rely on that outlet.

He was speaking at the 69th Annual General Meeting of the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers' Association at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston on Wednesday.

Shaw said the option of production at Monymusk is “far more favourable than the prospect of trucking the cane to Worthy Park and Appleton”.

He indicated that consideration of the proposed contingency plan to transport cane from the area to other factories, will only be on a last and “absolute resort” basis.

“I am going to work hard to have Monymusk open, because I see the practicality of it, I see the economics of it, including the small people on the hillside… Their cane is being processed at Monymusk,” the minister stated.

While noting that several “serious” investors are showing interest in the sugar factories, he declared that one of them wants to operate Monymusk and Frome, adding that they are people who are interested in looking at sugar cane in the more “enlightened context of diversification”.

He emphasised that diversification is the future of sugar production, citing key areas such as energy and cosmetics.

“The company we are talking to, they are into diversification… and it is the safest way to make the industry successful,” the minister said.

Shaw, who encouraged urging the farmers to think along the lines of diversification, suggested that they give consideration to cultivating sugar cane on some of their lands, and different crops on other portions.

He assured that when the factories' new owners take over, the Government will be working with them to ensure that “we maximise productivity among our small farmers”.

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