He reminded that in order to provide greater incentive for cane expansion, effective January 1, 2015, the Cane Expansion Fund (CEF) is to increase the loan amount for cane planting and replanting from $250,000.00 to $260,000.00 per hectare for irrigated areas, and from $220,000.00 to $230,000.00 per hectare for non-irrigated areas.
Delivering the keynote address at the Westmoreland and Hanover Sugar Cane Growers Association Annual General Meeting, held at Frome on October 22, Mr. Buchanan said that after witnessing the “extensive” expansion of the Frome Sugar Factory under the new owners, Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company Limited, he is convinced that “there is a bright future ahead for sugar in Jamaica.”
The State Minister hailed the US$200 million spent to expand the factory in Westmoreland, noting that it has bolstered his confidence in the industry, and that it should also encourage other factory operators to make similar investments.
“Let me remind you that the sugar cane industry is the lifeblood of the agricultural sector and of rural development in sugar belts (across the country). I therefore implore you to keep that tradition going. However, we must produce more annually, in order to achieve the targeted 3 to 3.5 million tonnes of cane by 2018,” the State Minister told the members.
He commended the farmers for the “tremendous work they have committed to put in, to take the sugar cane industry on the edge of a great revolution in production, which will lift the economic status of the country and by extension that of sugar cane farmers and their families.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that our sugar workers who have toiled long and hard on the sugar plantations across the island, embody that spirit of resilience that is Jamaican. You are among the many unsung heroes of our country and I salute you,” he told the farmers in attendance.
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