Factory worker Dwayne Mayers ensuring that the canes are properly offloaded. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
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Sugar cane is no longer the king of the Barbados economy, but based on the yield from this year’s harvest, its presence should not be dismissed.
Despite the long delay in starting the harvest, the lone operating sugar factory is well on its way to meeting the production target.
Manager at Portvale Sugar Factory, Raphael O’Neal, said on Wednesday that the factory had produced over 8 000 tonnes of sugar, 73 per cent of its target of 11 000 tonnes.
O’Neal said the factory was operating at a level it never did in the last eight years and said the 175 workers were giving their all to make sure things ran smoothly at the Blowers, St James plant.
“There is no doubt that they should be commended. They have been working for the past six years to make sure the factory really runs, even though Andrews was to be the major factory. One of the things we always tell them is that they are doing this for Barbados and the level they have being working at speaks to their sense of patriotism,” O’Neal said.
He added that in the 11 weeks of the harvest, the factory had been operating at 91.17 per cent and worked for 112 hours without a breakdown.
O’Neal estimates that by the end of the harvest about 167 000 tonnes of canes would have been reaped, with just over 113 000 tonnes having been delivered so far.
The factory is using 12 tonnes of cane to produce one tonne of sugar.
He added that harvesting should finish in the third week of July if private farmers helped the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) on the Government agency’s lands. He said private farmers had 11 harvesters, while BAMC owned eight.
Out of the 8 000 tonnes of sugar produced so far, over 4 000 has been bagged and more than 3 000 is in bulk sugar.
O’Neal said he was confident that the target for the year would be reached. (SB)