JAMAICA: Farm chief pushing for reinvestment in sugarcane
Published: 07/31/2012, 11:12:34 AM
Agriculture & Fisheries Minister, Roger Clarke has challenged stakeholders to work together to rebuild the sugar industry, according to GO Jamaica.
Minister Clarke was speaking at a Seminar put on by the Manchester office of the Jamaica Drip Irrigation titled ‘Revolutionizing the Sugar Cane Industry through Drip Irrigation on Thursday July 26.
At a time when sugar enjoys premium prices internationally, Minister Clarke stressed that Jamaica stands to lose big bucks because this year's sugar production is expected to be significantly lower when compared to last year's output.
"It is ironic that at this point in time when we have good prices we don't have any sugar... it cannot work like that" he warned. He told the gathering that given the number of persons employed and the importance of the sugar industry to Jamaica's agricultural sector much more needs to be done to ensure that targets are met.
"We need to lift tonnes per acre from the low that we are now experiencing, we need to move to a higher level because at that rate we are not competitive" the Agriculture Minister said.
To achieve the 2017 goal of increasing sugar production to a minimum of 3.5 million tonnes within the next four crop year, Minister Clarke noted that more lands would need to be placed into production utilizing efficient irrigation systems and proper agronomic practices.
Thursday's seminar was attended by sugarcane farmers from across the island. Participants were exposed to a number of areas including Best Practices in the Sugar Cane Industry and results of Drip Irrigation Implementation; Challenges in the Implementation of Irrigation and Subsurface Drip Implementation and the Economic Benefits using Drip Irrigation among others.