‘Focus more on local molasses’
A leading player in Barbados’ rum industry believes any reorganisation of the sugar industry should allow for the use of more locally produced molasses and reduce its importation.
Speaking with the DAILY NATION last weekend, managing director of the rum refinery at Mount Gay, Dr Frank Ward, said: “The local rum industry has always adopted the position that locally produced molasses was preferable for the industry.
“We have no issues with any developments pertaining to the sugar industry as a whole as long as it does not jeopardise our access to locally produced molasses, because we feel that we could be one of those engines which would bring added value to the sugar industry simply by being able to use all of the molasses that the industry can produce,” Ward maintained.
But he observed Barbados was currently unable to produce all the molasses to satisfy the needs of the industry right now, importing more than half of the requirements primarily from Guyana.
“The local industry for a long time has not been able to come anywhere near satisfying our requirements,” Ward said.
“To change will depend to a large extent on what future is seen for the sugar industry in Barbados as a whole,” he added.
Ward felt once there was a “clearly articulated position” on the future of Barbados’ sugar cane industry, then “there will be enough space for the industry to produce enough molasses to satisfy the local (rum) industry”.
“For us it is a matter of competitiveness, because for the rum producers it would be cheaper,” Ward stated.
The St Lucy rum producer said the industry was already faced with very high raw material inputs, the cost of molasses representing up to 50 per cent of overall costs.
“I think it is critical that some clear direction be given towards the future of the sugar cane industry,” Ward said.