What’s next for the sugar industry?
We must seriously reassess the viability of the sugar industry.
The agricultural sector has provided jobs, food and hard currency to our country, but one cannot help but wonder what has happened to the whole sector.
An article by Elizabeth Morgan published in the gleaner titled “Where Have Our Traditional Agricultural Exports Gone? (August 11, 2021) gave a brief summary of the factors that have affected Jamaica and our partners in the Caribbean community.
The sugar industry was once our bread and butter and although still functional it is now owned and operated by members of the private sector.
The government developed a national strategy that was to guide the diversification of the sugar industry over a ten-year period from 2006 to 2015 (JCS I). This was later revised from 2006 to 2020 (JCS II). The country strategy was to be a public-private sector-led initiative aimed at improving production efficiency, diversifying sources of income and strengthening human resources, which, in turn, would support the country’s macroeconomic objectives. government.
The implementation was to be done in phases: phase 1 (transition) 2006-2010, phase 2 (transformation) 2010-2015, and phase 3 (consolidation) 2015-2020.
However, we have seen no improvement but rather a decline in the industry over these years, while the government continues to import US$54.31 million worth of sugar and sweets for the domestic market. .
Clearly, such an importation is confirmation of the decline of locally grown sugar, and we need to seriously reassess the viability of the sugar industry and its ability to contribute to the country’s economic growth.