Sugar officials fear that the end of the will lead to a fall in prices and a decrease in sugar imports from the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, with particular impact on Caribbean producers.
“With our exports still focused on EU markets, the Caribbean sugar industry faces a period of instability and change, and must urgently adapt in order to meet the challenge of competing with other sugar producing nations worldwide which have lower production costs or in a global market heavily distorted by trade barriers and government support,” said Karl James, the chairman of the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC).
“The prospect of the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU further adds to the uncertainty ahead. The focus must be on identifying the practical next steps that we the industry, and our governments, can take as priority measures to reinvigorate our sugar sector and provide it with the means to prosper and grow in the 21st Century.”
“We look forward to taking forward with our partners in government the policy recommendations from this important workshop to give the sugar industry in the Caribbean a positive future,” he added.
The two-day meeting which begins on Thursday is being held in collaboration with the Caribbean Council, the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Jamaica promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
The meeting is being funded by the EU, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ASR Group, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and will bring together industry leaders and policy makers for an in-depth discussion on how the Caribbean sugar industry now needs to adapt to the new market realities.
Delegates will also discuss the policy options which are available to both industry and regional governments.
The recommendations of the industry workshop will be presented to the Sixth Meeting of the CARICOM Stakeholders on Sugar, which will be convened by the CARICOM Secretariat and held here on Friday.
- Countries: Caribbean