Sweet boost for cane industry
The revitalisation of Barbados sugarcane industry could be in for a massive boost from the Japanese.
Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, is to meet with representatives of the globally influential Japanese company, Marubeni Corporation, who have expressed an interest in funding the entire Cane Industry Restructuring Project.
The meeting will take place on January 28, at the ministry’s headquarters at Graeme Hall, Christ Church, at 10 a.m.
The Barbados Cane Industry Corporation, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, is in the process of implementing the project which aims to convert the existing Barbados sugar industry into a sugarcane and renewable energy industry. This new thrust will result in the processing of over 330,000 tonnes of sugar cane to produce 15,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 12,000 tonnes of refined sugar and 24,000 tonnes of molasses.
In addition to the bagasse by-product from the processing of sugarcane, a further 150,000 tonnes of river tamarind biomass will be used to generate over 170,000 megawatt hours of electricity. The facilities are expected to come on stream in January, 2016.
Project manager with the BCIC, Carl Simpson, explained that the proposed funding for the project would be delivered in two phases.
“The first phase of Field Improvement and Factory Transition will ensure that the agricultural requirements for the Cane Industry Restructuring Project are achieved. Support funds will be supplied to sugarcane growers to assist with farming improvements and to encourage an improvement in national sugarcane production levels.
The first phase of funding will also pay for the temporary upgrade of the transition factory at Portvale, fund the Portvale Factory operations during the transition periods 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 and continue the research and development of the river tamarind and other biomass materials.
“The second phase will cover factory refurbishment. This phase will support a multi-purpose facility at the existing Andrews Sugar Factory site [which] will also house bulk storage and packaging facilities.
“The expanded and refurbished facility will meet international food grade and environmental standards and allow for cogeneration of heat and electricity in a 25 megawatts base load power generating plant,” Simpson disclosed, adding that planning for the project was at the stage of final outline design and preliminary capital estimates for both phases.
Additionally, the project manager noted that all processing equipment would be upgraded to improve the overall efficiency of sugar and molasses production and a new plant introduced for the refining of white sugar.