Sugar crop starts Wednesday
General Manager of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company, Leslie Parris, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, that this was agree to this morning during a meeting with the stakeholders, including the independent sugar producers.
Parris said “everybody is ready” and steam trials will begin on Friday at the two operating factories of Portvale in St. James and Andrew’s, St. Joseph.
“We are projecting 18,000 tons of sugar this year. It is the sugar, and not the cane tonnage, that is revenue-driven. You know we are concentrating on foreign exchange earnings, so it’s the sugar that brings in the revenue,” Parris asserted.
He said that last year the country produced 20,000 tons of sugar, which reflected a reduction of 2,000 tons.
“The plantations, particularly a number of the large ones, have not been able to produce the tonnage expected because they are cash-strapped,” the BAMC head gave as the reason for the decline in this year’s projected sugar output.
Parris told this newspaper that some of the large plantations only produced about 50 per cent of what they did last year.
“And that figure is being conservative” he added.
The executive said 80 per cent of sugar produced would be exported. Sugar production in Barbados has been on the decline for years now, with the price the island has been receiving from the European Union way below what it costs to produce each ton of sugar.
In those circumstances, the former Minister of Agriculture, Dr David Estwick, had made it clear that Government intended to ban further exports to the EU “because it made no sense”. As recently as 25 years ago Barbados’ annual sugar output exceeded 200,000 tonnes. (EJ)†††††††