Cane farms facing possible closure

The island’s 14 independent cane sugar farms could become victims of Government’s tight financial situation.

Chairman of the Barbados Sugar Industry Limited (BSIL) Patrick Bethel said this afternoon the farms were facing possible closure due to Government’s failure to honour outstanding payments to the independent producers.   

While Bethel could not place a dollar figure on the arrears owed, he told Barbados TODAY that some producers have had to abandon aged and obsolete equipment because
the funds needed to help them retool had not been forthcoming.

Barbados TODAY has been told that the cane farmers are yet to receive the final drawdown from a $73 million loan which Government had secured from the Ansa Merchant Bank for the purpose of retooling the operations of the private producers as well as those employed by the state-owned Barbados Agricultural Management Company.

Apart from that financing, the calculations surrounding the payment for canes supplied to the lone sugar factory at Portvale in St James are of serious concern to the farmers.

“The current shambles with the calculations of the cane payments to the independent producers have cast a dark cloud over the future administration and funding of the sugar industry. As I speak, final payment for the 2016 crop has just been completed, while calculations for the 2017 crop are still in progress. In addition, first payments for the 2016
planting under the ECRIS [Enhanced Cane Replanting Incentive Scheme] programme for some farmers is still outstanding,” Bethel said, adding that all other payments for 2016 cane planting remain unpaid, nearly a year after their due date.

“This, after the minister of agriculture assured the cane farmers that the necessary funding was in place for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 cane crops. In addition to the above miscalculations and late payments, we now see a unilateral attempt being made to introduce a change to the payment calculations which would result in lower per-tonne payments to the farmers for cane supplies during the 2017 crop,” the cane farmers spokesman told Barbados TODAY.

Bethel said the farmers now had no confidence in the ability of those charged with the restructuring of the sugar industry, considering that such confidence was the single most important factor in making this programme successful.

“Hard times require hard decisions. If the agency charged with managing the Government plans for restructuring the cane industry is unable after three years to accurately calculate in a timely manner the payments to the cane farmers, then we have to ask, ‘is there a need for the future operation and costs to Government of this agency?’”

As a result of the current situation, Bethel said he was anxiously looking forward to requested meetings with the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and the chairman of the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation to discuss plans and financing of the sector, starting with the 2018 crop.

However, the BSIL chairman said there was a glimmer of hope for the industry due to a potential source of revenue.

“With the growing interest in the rum products for high quality molasses and cane syrup, as well as the increasing demand for direct consumption sugars, the future for the sugar industry is very encouraging,” he said.

He disclosed that discussions were being held with representatives of local and foreign agencies involved in rum, syrup and sugars with a view to developing additional sources of revenue.

The objective is to make the sugar cane industry self-sustaining and a net earner of foreign exchange, Bethel explained.

“Simultaneously, the BSIL has also been funding research to the tune of $165,301,77 to date on a project for the production of electricity from biomass and/or high fibre canes. As expected, this research has met with many twists and turns over the past year. We are expecting, in the coming months, to take a definite decision on the direction of this programme,” he stated.

36 Responses to Cane farms facing possible closure

  1. Renaldo Scott
    Renaldo Scott December 15, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Raped our country long enough bye

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Well said. Mind you ALL these governments are doing is paying all of them lot with concessions to rape them and for them to trow back a little pittance at the small man to use him aka work.

      Reply
  2. Ian Edwards
    Ian Edwards December 15, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Cane farms ha ha barbados was striving with sugarcane it shouldn’t have to come to this ,,,now what you see in place of sugar cane fields houses ,more houses what do they expect

    Reply
  3. Chris Wright December 16, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Houses and roads in the place where there were sugar canes and improper or no drainage at all is the reason for the ever present flooding when it rains.

    Reply
  4. Santini More
    Santini More December 16, 2017 at 12:35 am

    An incompetent PM + A half hearted Min of Ag = Gross Incompetence and the demise of cane farmers.

    Reply
  5. Richard Braithwaite
    Richard Braithwaite December 16, 2017 at 3:02 am

    This problem has been comming for a long time.
    Warning signals been shining for long time.!
    Too little …Too late ?
    What say you ?

    Reply
  6. MArk Anthony
    MArk Anthony December 16, 2017 at 3:20 am

    The government over the years have been paying sugar cane farmers large amounts of money so they can stay in operation, which makes no sense.

    Reply
  7. Helen Charles Knighton
    Helen Charles Knighton December 16, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Concrete has become the new crop !

    Reply
  8. Alex Alleyne December 16, 2017 at 5:06 am

    It’s about time. I never hear of a “POOR” sugar plantation owner yet.

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      @Alex – Let hope this occurs.
      “The objective is to make the sugar cane industry SELF-sustaining and a net earner of foreign exchange, Bethel explained”

      Reply
  9. Carson C Cadogan December 16, 2017 at 5:18 am

    It is amazing how all these WHITE people are crawling out of the woodwork to attack the Govt.

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      CCC – r u saying they are wood ants??

      Reply
  10. Carson C Cadogan December 16, 2017 at 5:22 am

    It costs more to produce sugar than we are being paid for it on the World market.

    Sugar production in Barbados makes no sense. Guyana is closing down its sugar factories.

    Why don’t you mention that Patrick, Black people in Barbados are not as dumb as you think.

    Reply
  11. David Hinkson
    David Hinkson December 16, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Cane farming is more than land owners, it’s bread on the table for thousands of barbarians. From vendors in the factory to mechanics and operators and their families. It’s the stores who give credit to the workers and it’s the stability of our precious land. It’s maintaining the beauty of our country for tourism.

    Reply
    • Ian Edwards
      Ian Edwards December 16, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Really if that was the case the government should kept the cane fields in progress barbados have get rid it’s industries now barbados is choking itself due to lack these industries that produce crops ..note barbados once has produce some of the best sugar cane in the world now you importing

      Reply
    • Iain Edghill December 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      David, “thousands of barbarians?” That’s quite the slip-of-the-pen! But your observations are spot on. You’ve nailed it.
      Well done!

      Reply
  12. Tony Webster December 16, 2017 at 6:41 am

    @ Carson…how can you possibly look yourself in the mirror, and have any vestige of pride and honour..a nd a li’l self-respect?
    Even with the season of madness about us, don’t you tire of beating that racial drum? It’s sooooo pasee..boring…what about helping us all re-invent Bim, so there will be something to pass to our children? Or you just wanna sell everything…including your soul…to our new Chinese Godfathers?

    Reply
  13. A Boyce December 16, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Well said Tony Webster, this Carson has a one track mind, and is full of negativity. May the Lord have mercy on him.

    Reply
    • Belfast. December 16, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Carson is the voice of the Democratic Labour Party.

      Reply
  14. Fred Foster December 16, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Yes, pave them over one time. Why leave any green on the island at all when it takes up space you could be using for another concrete high rise hotel?

    Reply
  15. Suezette Boyce-Griffith
    Suezette Boyce-Griffith December 16, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Once in reality the country will pay for it what will we do next this is what we depend on

    Reply
  16. Alvin Bryan
    Alvin Bryan December 16, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Long ago sugar was the backbone of our economy but like government give up on that for the get rich quick scheme of tourism for foreign exchange but sadly that too seems to be failing. Selling ourselves short and have nothing of sustainable value for ourselves in the long run.

    Reply
  17. Helicopter(8P) December 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Where have we gone lost here ? The minister of agriculture and the entire house of assembly knows that production of Barbados produced sugar would be a complement to saving foreign exchange but not only that a high quality grade of sugar it also means. Energy and productive man hour wastage can be adjusted to help lower production cost. I would think attitude is a more elaborate problem.

    Reply
  18. Helicopter(8P) December 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    To the racist Barbadian Carson Cadogan those same Barbadian whites are the ones who sent home a ham, a turkey, a case of Banks beer, a quart bottle of Sugarcane Brandy or old Brigand to many a black Bajan as myself, for Christmas to your grand fathers and mothers and like wise to mine. Is it that black Barbadians are being infected by the canine disease “Distemper” Now tell me Cadogan how much money do you place in the tills of our government or how many Black Barbadians do you employ? If there is no response them please close the hatch and sit tight for comfort’s sake.

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      @Helicopter(8P) – You really need to get/and keep your brain out of your belly. I am shocked at your meager thoughts.

      Reply
      • Jennifer December 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        Oh and many of this people do have canine disease – the serve and protect Akita type but for whom?????? Them beers got you drunk.

        Reply
  19. Rechelle December 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Everything in Barbados shutting down. What a coincidence.

    Reply
  20. Jus me December 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    De carnival done stop!!!>

    Reply
  21. Belfast. December 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    It is not surprising. The Minister of Agriculture (by pay only) has closed down the island’s premier sugar factory, why not the existing sugar plantations as well?

    Reply
  22. Belfast. December 16, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Perhaps these disadvantaged sugar plantation owners should abandon sugar cane and take up the growing of Wild River Tamarind. Somebody has a great plan for this product. Like the Government of Barbados Saving Bonds, Wild River Tamarind will reap dividends.

    Reply
  23. Sheron Inniss December 17, 2017 at 6:02 am

    If it was up to me the sugar farmers would get their money.

    Sugar use to be our backbone and it still has a very important role to play. You need it for making rum, wine, jam, etc. The by products molasses and bagasse are excellent fertilizers, with the former also being used as a healthy sweetener and for animal feeds.

    Cane is also important along hedgerows to help stop erosion of soil, along with khus khus grass. As we should also know other root crops are still planted between cane which is good for the soil.

    Wasting money giving concessions where they are not due is what needs stopping. The patchwork quilt fixing of potholes needs stopping; the large entourages, the free tickets to paying events, the kickbacks, etc need stopping.

    These will all help to make Barbados free. Don’t forget to put out the clowns aka all politicians who do not really have Barbados’ interests at heart.

    Pay the cane farmers; it is long overdue.

    Reply
  24. Izizi Izizi
    Izizi Izizi December 17, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Sooo what, find an alternative crop to place on the land and employ the same workerss…..tired ah Bajans and dem.backwardness, highlighting problems but no solutions….

    Reply
  25. Izizi Izizi
    Izizi Izizi December 17, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Sugar is dead

    Reply
  26. Izizi Izizi
    Izizi Izizi December 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Really can Barbados compete with South American cane plantationss….definitely not

    Reply
  27. Ralph W Talma December 17, 2017 at 9:12 am

    1. Well done @Tony Webster. Mr Cadogan deserves to be told-off yet again.
    2. Please farmers, hang fast until 2020 when Brexit will have been secured, and hopefully UK will be free from the pressures imposed on farmers here to grow ‘beet sugar’ to the detriment of the importation of Commonwealth cane sugar – the best of which is of course being from Barbados. I for one have been a long term purchaser of St Nicholas Abbey brown sugar and hope importation thereof here will be a lot easier once this Conservative Government is free to make its own trade agreements again.
    2. Stand by for a reincarnation of the Commonwealth and the benefits it/UK will hopefully bring to the Islands.

    Reply
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